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Mar 17, 2015

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of BISL, Legal Challenge Set for July

Eamon Courtenay

Two decisions were recently delivered by the Supreme Court. In the first case, the Supreme Court once again ruled in favor of Belize International Services Limited which was appropriated by government in June 2013.  BISL is the parent company of the International Business Companies Registry and International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, IBC and IMMARBE, respectively.  In the wake of the takeover, BISL filed a claim against government in which it is arguing that its constitutional rights were breached.  Government subsequently applied to have the case struck out.  The matter languished in the chamber of Justice Michelle Arana before a decision was finally handed down on Friday where she ruled that the matter will not be set aside.  A new date has since been scheduled for the matter to be heard in full where BISL will argue that the takeover was unconstitutional.  According to Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay they will be seeking damages as a result of the unlawful takeover.

 

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for BISL

“As you know, we represent Belize International Services Limited, BISL, as we call it, which had the contract to manage the companies registry, the IBCs and the ships registry and the government came in and arbitrarily took it away from them.  We say that that was a breach of our client’s constitutional rights and that they are entitled to substantial damages from the government.  You will recall that last year the government applied to have that case struck out and we argued before Madam Justice Arana whether or not our client’s constitutional rights were in fact contravened and whether we could bring this case.  The government was saying that the court ought not to have entertained the case.  Well, last week the judge gave her decision and refused to strike out the claim and so the government lost their application.  The judge ordered that the claim should continue.  She expressed serious concern about the way in which the operations of our clients were taken over and said that that is a matter that has to be dealt with before the court and may sound in damages.  So what is going to happen now is that the parties are going to put in their evidence and we are going to have a trial in July on whether or not the registries were lawfully taken away or not.  We say they are not lawfully taken away and in fact we are entitled to substantial damages.”

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