Supreme Court stays action by sports bodies seeking damages from government

'Oku 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

The Supreme Court has upheld an application by the government to stay a legal action by the Pacific Games Council and the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic  Committee.

The Council and TASANOC sued the government for damages over breach of a written agreement of a contract (the Host Contract) dating to 2012 under which the Government agreed to host the Pacific  Games  in  Tonga  in  2019.

The plaintiffs argued that as a result of what they claimed was a breach of the Host  Contract  the  plaintiffs had suffered loss and damage, including losses associated with obtaining Samoa to host the Games.

In the case of PGC this amounted to TP$4,581,901.49 and in the case of TASANOC, to TP$2,612,256.59.

The government sought to strike out or stay the plaintiffs’ claims.

It argued that the plaintiffs’ statement of claim did not disclose a reasonable cause  of action against the Kingdom as the Host Contract, and specifically the fiscal and financial provisions of it requiring the Government to effectively underwrite the 2019 Pacific Games (the Games), were never binding upon the Government and/or became a ‘dead letter’ on  5 September  2017 upon the repeal of the legislation enacted to provide for the organization of the Games, the Pacific Games Organization Act 2013 (the Act);

It argued that the plaintiffs were not parties to the Host Contract and had no standing to sue upon it.

It also argued that the plaintiffs’ claims of damages are misconceived and the  damages  claims should be stayed until  any actual losses could be determined following the holding of the Games, which would now take place in Samoa.

Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said the statement of claim submitted by the council and TASANOC was defective.

He said it failed to identify the plaintiffs (or misdescribed them) and failed also to provide a basis upon which they had standing to sue upon the Host Contract and failed  to adequately plead the basis and particulars of the damages claims.

“While I accept the damages claims can be reformulated in an amended pleading it  is not at all clear to me that the matters are capable of repair, justifying me striking out the pleading and dismissing the action,” the judge said.

Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said the council and TASANOC could apply no later than  January next year to lift the stay subject to them providing a draft amended statement  of claim for the Court’s approval.

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has upheld an application by the government to stay an legal action by the Pacific Games Council and the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic
  • The Council and TASANOC sued the government for damages over breach of a written agreement of a contract (the Host Contract) dating to 2012 under which the Government agreed to host the Pacific Games  in  Tonga  in

1 COMMENT

  1. Kuo tali ‘e he ‘Eiki Fakamaau Lahi’ e kole ‘a e pule’anga’ ke ta’ofi e ngaahi ‘eke pa’anga fakalao ‘a e Kosilio Keimi ‘a e Pasifiki mo e TASANOC ne fai ki he pule’anga Tonga’.

    Na’e faka’ilo foki ‘e he Kosilioo’ mo e TASANOC ‘a e pule’anga ‘o ‘eke ‘a e fakamole ki hono maumau’i ‘enau alea fakapepa ke fakalele ‘e Tonga ‘a e Sipoti ‘o lau mai ‘eni mei he 2012 hili e loto ‘a Tonga ki ai’.

    Ne nau ‘eke leva ‘a e TP$4,581,901.49 ‘e he Kosilio pea TP$2,612,256.59 ‘a e TASANOC

    Na’e fokotu’u atu leva e he pule’anga ki he fakamaau’anga ke tamate’i e ‘eke ko ‘eni pe ko hono ta’ofi ki ha taimi ‘amuiange ke toki fai hano vakai’i (stay).

    Pea kuo ta’ofi fakataimi ia ‘e he ‘Eiki Fakamaau Lahi Owen Paulsen pea fekau ke toe ō e kosilioo’ mo e TASANOC ‘o faile fo’ou mai ‘ena ‘eke mo ‘ena fakamatala taukapo ‘oku fai ki he ta’u kaha’u ke toki vakai ki ai ‘a e fakamaau’anga pe te ne tali ke hoko atu e hopo pe ikai.

    Na’e taukave ‘a e pule’anga ko e Sipoti ‘ena ia ‘e fai pe ia ‘i Ha’amoa pea ko ia ai ‘e ‘ikai ha fu’u mole lahi ia ki he Kosilioo.

    Na’e kikihi’i ‘e he pule’anga ‘o pehe na’e ‘ikai lava ke ‘omi ‘e he talatalaaki ha ‘uhinga lelei ki he’ene faka’ilo ‘a e pule’anga ‘a ia ko ia ne Konituleki ke Fakalele ‘a e Keimi, pea tautefito ke ‘omi ‘a e ngaahi fakamatala mahino ‘oku ha ai na’e fiema’u ‘a e pule’anga’ ke ne totongi huhu’i ha fakamole ‘a e Keimi Pasfiki 2019. Na’e ‘ikai ha ngaahi ha’iha’i fakalao pehe pea ne iku kotoa pe ‘eni ‘o mate kotoa ‘i Sepitema ‘aho 5, 2017 hili hono tamate’i e lao ne ne fakamanava’i hono fakalele ‘o e Keimi, Lao Pacific Games Organisation Act 2013.

    Na’e kikihi ‘a e pule’anga mo ‘enau Loea Dr Rodney Harrison ‘oku ‘ikai kaunga e ongo talatalaaki ia ki he konituleki ki hono fakalele ‘o e Sipoti’ pea ‘oku ‘ikai ai ha makatu’unga ke na faka’ilo ‘a e pule’anga’.

    Ne kikihi e pule’anga ko e faka’uhinga ‘a e Kosilio mo e TASANOC ‘oku tu’unga he faka’uhinga hala.

    Na’e pehē ‘e Fakamaau Lahi Paulsen ko e fakamatala ‘eke ne fai ‘e he kosilioo’ mo e TASANOC na’e matāmama.

    Na’e ‘ikai ke ne lava ‘o fakamatala’i mahino ko hai ko ā ‘a e kau talatalaaki, lahi e ngaahi hingoa ia ‘oku ‘asi he lekooti ‘oku ui ‘aki ‘a e Kosilioo’ ‘o kehe ia mei he Pacific Games Council pea ‘ikai ‘asi e hingoa ia ko e TASANOC he alea ke fakalele Sipoti kae ‘asi ia ko e Tonga Pacific Games Association pe mo e Pule’anga Tonga.

    Pe ko ha hala pe hono fakamatala’i pea ‘ikai ke lava ‘o ‘omai ha makatu’unga ke tu’unga ai ‘enau faka’ilo ‘o makatu’unga ‘i he Konituleki ke fakalele ‘a e Sipoti pea matu’aki ‘ikai lava ke taukapo’i e makatu’unga ‘o e ngaahi ‘eke maumau ne ne fai.

    Ko ‘ene tu’u leva ko eni fakatatau ki he ‘uhinga ‘o e ta’ofi ko eni pe ‘oku fakapalangi’i ko e stay the plaintiffs’ claims, ‘e malava ke toe faile fo’ou ‘e he talatalaaki ‘oua toe tōmui ‘i Sanuali ‘o e 2019 ‘o kole ki he ki he fakamaau’anga ke to’o mu’a ‘a e ta’ofi ko ‘eni. Ka ‘e malava ke fakangata ai pe ka ‘oatu ‘enau pepa talatalaaki’i ko ‘eni kuo tu’utu’uni ke fai fo’ou ‘o ‘ikai fiemalie ki ai ‘a e fakamaau’anga ia ‘i he ta’u kaha’u.

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