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Clico Policyholders fail in Privy Council bid
A group of Clico policyholders yesterday failed in their bid to appeal to the Privy Council for pre-emptive and interim legal costs to finance their ongoing litigation against the financially-troubled insurance company. The five Executive Flexible Premium Annuity (EFPA) policyholders were denied leave to appeal to the London-based court by Appellate Judges Peter Jamadhar, Rajendra Narine and Gregory Smith. As part of their oral ruling, the judges ordered that the policyholders pay the legal costs for the application. On May 17, while dismissing the policyholders’ appeal, the Court of Appeal agreed with the decision of Justice Devindra Rampersad, which he delivered on March 29 in the Port-of-Spain High Court.
In his 49-page ruling, Rampersad said the court had no discretion to interfere with the fund without regard to the risk-assessment factor. He said any such order would be subject to justified criticism, as such payment would have been made without considering the overall effect on the entire Statutory Fund. In their application, the policyholders asked to be paid out of the Statutory Fund to pursue their litigation further. The Central Bank took control of Clico and its statutory fund following the company’s collapse in 2009.
The policyholders appealed the decision, through their attorney, Senior Counsel Dr Claude Denbow, and were challenging Rampersad’s findings under Sections 40 and 115 of the Insurance Act. The substantive matter before Justice Rampersad is still ongoing. The policyholders—Percy Farrell, Marina Inalsingh, retired UWI professor Gordon Rohlehr, David Dayal and Michael Alexander—contend that Justice Rampersad erred when considering the legislation. The Central Bank was represented by Senior Cousel Reginald Armour while Kelvin Ramkisson appeared for the State.
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