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Court allows application to amend plenary summons and statement of claim

By: James Cross BL

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High Court allows application to amend plenary summons and statement of claim, in proceedings regarding the sale of land, to include claim for breach of contract and claim to recover the monies paid under the contract for sale, on the grounds that: the amendments arise out of “substantially the same facts” as those already pleaded in the statement of claim and/or fall within the “ambit of the original grievance”, and no issue arises in relation to the Statute of Limitations.

Amendment of pleadings – application to amend plenary summons and statement of claim - contract for the sale of land - case had been that the entire beneficial interest in the lands in sale passed to company, as purchaser, upon the making of the contract for sale - on consent amendment allowed to allow a plea in the alternative that the purchaser had acquired a beneficial interest commensurate with the amount of the purchase price paid – address situation where legislation may not have retrospective effect - order for the partition of the lands, and, in the alternative, orders for the sale of the lands and the distribution of the proceeds of sale - claim as initially pleaded, therefore, relied on an asserted beneficial interest in the lands as giving rise to an entitlement to partition and/or sale - proposed amendments would introduce a claim for breach of contract - now sought to enforce a provision in the contract for sale to the effect that the Defendants were to deliver deeds of assurance to the Plaintiff’s principal - proposed amendments would also introduce a claim to recover the monies paid under the contract for sale – principles governing applications to amend – amendment to introduce new cause of action – no prohibition on allowing an amendment in such cases - prejudice - no issue arises in respect of the Statute of Limitations in the present case - the proposed amendments do not involve the introduction of “new” facts in the strict sense - amendments arise out of “substantially the same facts” as those already pleaded in the statement of claim and/or fall within the “ambit of the original grievance” – counsel for the Defendants submits that the claim for restitution is bound to fail - court should lean in favour of allowing an amendment, which is otherwise appropriate, unless it is “manifest” that the issue sought to be raised by the amended pleading must “necessarily fail” - not “manifest” that the claim for restitution is one which must “necessarily fail” – delay – no prejudice has arisen as a result of the delay in making an application to amend – amendments permitted -

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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