Supreme Court grants PIC leave to appeal closure, but awards costs to Reserve Bank

    The Supreme Court has granted the Pacific International Commercial Bank leave to   apply   for judicial review of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga decision  to revoke its banking  licence.

    Lord Chief Justice Paulsen gave the PIC 21 days to make the application.

    The Reserve Bank made the decision on July 26 this year.

    Radio New Zealand reported at the time that the Reserve Bank warned people not to do any business with the Chinese-Tongan business.

    The Supreme Court threw out an application by the PIC to stop the court awarding costs to the Reserve Bank.

    Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said the PIC Bank’s action was legally worthless and it should have been clear to those bringing it that it was completely hopeless.

    He said the manner in which the case had  been conducted had wasted a great deal of time and criticised the behaviour of the PIC bank’s counsel, Mr. S. Tu’utafaiva.

    After seeking an adjournment of an earlier hearing on the grounds of Mr Tu’utafaiva’s ill health, the PIC sought another hearing. At the last moment the PIC said it could not proceed.

    In his report on the case. Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said:

    “In my view the case as it is presently presented was hopeless.

    “The actions of the plaintiff in failing to instruct counsel in a timely manner and then advising the court and the defendants that it could not proceed with the hearing at the eleventh hour was, in the circumstances of this case, completely  unacceptable.”

    He ordered the PIC to pay costs be paid to the Reserve Bank.

    The main points

    • The Supreme Court has granted the Pacific International Commercial Bank leave to   apply   for judicial review of the Reserve Bank ‘s decision  to revoke its banking
    • However, the Court threw out an application by the PIC to stop the court awarding costs to the Reserve Bank.
    • Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said the PIC Bank’s action was legally worthless and it should have been clear to those bringing it that it was completely hopeless.
    • He ordered the PIC to pay costs be paid to the Reserve Bank.

     

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