The Supreme Court has set aside a judgement made against the Governor of Vava’u and the Tongan government.
Lee Latu and ‘Isileli Latu claimed that the governor falsely and negligently represented to them that they would be granted a lease of Hinakauea beach for a tourism business.
As a result they incurred large costs that they sought to recover. In their claim they argued that the government was vicariously liable for the negligence of the first defendant.
On March 14 this year the plaintiffs obtained judgment by default against the defendants with damages to be assessed.
The following month, the governor and the government applied to set the judgment aside.
Documents in support of that application were filed on April 20, setting out the basis of their defence.
In his summary of the case, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said he was satisfied the defence had set out the grounds for having the judgement set aside.
“The defendants have an arguable defence and deny that any misrepresentation was made to the plaintiffs.” Mr Juistice Paulsen said.
“There is nothing to suggest that the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm if the judgment is set aside.”
The Latus were awarded TP$500 costs in regard to the application.
The judge ordered them to file a reply to the defendants’ statement of defence by June 13.