9th Jul 2014
The appellant company appealed against the Court of Appeal’s decision that the respondent insurer had been entitled to repudiate liability under a policy of insurance. The Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago had overturned the judge’s findings of fact in favour of the company, and substituted its own findings of fraud. The Privy Council held that the Court of Appeal had no proper basis for concluding that the judge had gone plainly wrong in his assessment of the evidence. His findings were primary findings of fact based on an assessment of the oral testimony of witnesses. It was evidence which an appellate court should have been very slow to reverse. The Court of Appeal did not exercise the requisite caution and its judgment could not stand.