The Appellant, Jimdar Caterer’s Limited appealed to the Court of Appeal against the decision of the Tax Appeal Board to extend the time for the Board of Inland Revenue to file and serve its Statutory Documents and Statement of Case in opposition to its appeal before the Tax Appeal Board.
The Appellant had argued before the Tax Appeal Board that the Civil Proceedings Rules 1998, being the current rules applicable in the High Court, were the rules to be used by the Tax Appeal Board in exercising its discretion to extend the time. The Tax Appeal Board disagreed and held that the previous rules, the Orders and Rules of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Trinidad and Tobago 1975 where the applicable rules.
The question was whether the reference to the “Rules of the Supreme Court” in the Tax Appeal Board Rules, meant the current rules of the Supreme Court i.e. The “Civil Proceeding Rules 1998” or the “Orders and Rules of the Supreme Court of Judicature of Trinidad and Tobago 1975“.
The Court of Appeal agreed with the Appellant, in a judgment delivered by Mendonça JA, conclusively resolving the ongoing debate as to which are the applicable rules to proceedings before the Tax Appeal Board.
Interestingly, the decision apparently seeks to qualify the decision in Roland James v The Attorney General Civ App 44 of 2014 where it was held that:
…the casual or laissez faire approach to litigation that mandated the repeal of the Rules of the Supreme Court, 1975 and brought the CPR into existence… (per Mendonça JA).
In Jimdar the Court of Appeal held that the 1975 Rules had not been repealed:
The 1975 Rules is should be noted were not repealed by the CPR. They continue to have limited application to matters which were commenced before September 16th 2005 that may still be pending and that have not been converted to the CPR (see CPR 80.3). Although, therefore, the 1975 Rules have not been repealed by the CPR they have been effectively replaced by them.
Mendonça JA went on, referring to the Tax Appeal Board Rules which refer to the Rules of the Supreme Court:
In my judgment rule 21 must be construed to reflect the changes in the rules of the Supreme Court and the reference to the Rules of the Supreme Court in rule 21 is to be construed as referring to the CPR.
The Court of Appeal then went on to consider whether when the proper test was applied the Respondent’s time ought to be extended and dismissed the appeal. While the Respondent fell short in respect of a number of the relevant factors, it appears the ‘administration of justice’ and the ‘implications for the wider public interest’ tipped the balance in the Revenue’s favour.
The Court of Appeal then went on to consider the proper way to appeal from the Tax Appeal Board to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal held that this was not governed by the CPR but instead, since no provision was made in the CPR, the proper way to appeal is by way of case stated.
See full judgment here:28 July 2017 Jimdar v BIR | Judgment