Tales from the Courts – A lucky Dip into the Decisions of the Barbados Court of Appeal Part XVII
“Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied” – British politician William Gladstone
A dip into decisions of the Barbados Court of Appeal by BU legal eagles has provided the opportunity to critique the case James Livingstone Eastmond v. Rayside Concrete Works Limited [Unreported] C.A. B’dos Civil Appeal No 18 of 2003. The decision was handed down on 2012-11-08 by a panel comprised of Williams CJ (ag) Mason, Burgess JJA. The decision was written by Peter Williams JA.
The case is one involving dismissal and severance payment. This is not some high-flown case with wealthy and high-profile litigants, but one which demonstrates the perpetual failure of our judiciary to deliver justice to an ordinary Bajan.
The plaintiff, James Eastmond, had worked for Rayside Concrete Works for 15 years and he had been dismissed over 20 years before the decision of the Court of Appeal was handed down. A twenty year search for justice. The case was in the system (either before the Severance Payments Tribunal or the High Court) for about 11 years, before coming to the Court of Appeal.
Williams JA notes that “Eastmond was employed by Rayside from 2 December 1976 to 8 April 1992″ Except for a lacuna of 6 weeks when he was laid off. On 8 April 1992 Eastmond was laid off and he was given a Termination of Services/Lay-Off Certificate that would enable Eastmond to collect unemployment insurance. This Certificate was stamped by the National Insurance Office dated 21 April 1992. The reason for the laying off and proposed recommencement of work was given as “the truck was under repairs and that the date of re-employment was indefinite.
Mr Eastmond first claimed for severance in 1992. But it was denied until 2012 – 20 years later. The conduct of Rayside can only be described as egregious and punitive towards Mr Eastmond. Ditto the Court of Appeal in that he can only expect his severance payment as it was in 1992, with no interest whatever, other than maybe a few days or weeks from the date of the judgment in 2012. No recognition of the hardship and mental stress and anguish that his ordeal caused him. And this, in Barbados, is what passes for JUSTICE.
And what about Mr Eastmond’s legal costs? Well, the BU family can read all about them starting at  of the judgement. We are too disgusted to go any further.
So JUSTICE has not been handed to Mr Eastmond. Instead, he now has the task of trying to collect his legal costs from RAYSIDE CONCRETE WORKS for his cases before the High Court and the Tribunal. And do you think that will be easy?
BU is sickened and disheartened to read of this case and can only imagine the torment which has been experienced by Mr. Eastmond. What about the MANY litigants like him? Perish the thought that we even have to have some sympathy for the attorneys-at-law who are placed, by the courts, in a situation of being blamed and reviled – sometimes unpaid – by their clients as a direct result of the total breakdown of the Barbados judicature.