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Ramnarine v Ramnarine [2013] UKPC 27

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Financial provision case which has been running for 16 years. The case was decided against the W and she appealed, arguing that the delay and the judge's reliance on counsel's submissions had led the judge into error. Appeal dismissed.

  • In brief:  A case all the way from Trindad and Tobago dealing with delay in financial provision proceedings. The wife ("W") had begun her claim in 1997; it then took four years and nine months for the case to come to trial. The judge had then taken four years to produce his oral judgment - he found against W, and had reproduced the husband's ("H") counsel's submissions verbatim into the judgment. W unsuccessfully appealed and, after 16 years and five months, her claims were completely rejected. W appealed arguing, among other things, that the delay between the conclusion of the trial and the oral judgment had led the judge into error and the fact that he had relied upon H's counsel's submissions was clear evidence of the fact that the judge did not have any independent recollection of the evidence. The Privy Council dismissed W's appeal. The Supreme Court Justices noted that the submissions W was complaining about only made up something like 25% of the total judgment; they referred to IG Markets Ltd v Crinion [2013] EWCA Civ 587, Times, July 31, 2013 where the judge had pretty much copied word-for-word counsel's closing submissions in his judgment. The Justices highlighted that it was not necessarily bad practice for a judge to use counsel's submissions verbatim where he preferred those submissions, arguments and contentions and could not improve upon the way they had been expressed. However, it was important that a judge, if doing this, acknowledge that the submissions were being reproduced verbatim and also include a recital of the other party's contentions and explain why he was rejecting these. The delay between trial and judgment had been unacceptable but, given W was now entitled to a substantial UK state pension, the further costs and delay in directing a rehearing could not be justified.

    Read the full judgment here

Published: 05/08/2013

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