British Virgin Islands

Monday, Oct 26, 2020

SSB In Long-Running Court Feud Over Outstanding Contributions

SSB In Long-Running Court Feud Over Outstanding Contributions

The Social Security Board has filed a civil claim against Klenton Pikering allegedly doing business as Ground Works BVI and the Pickering Group of Companies with respect to outstanding Social Security contributions.
Court documents indicate that the defendants allegedly owes for the eriod December 2008 to March 2011.

After years of delay, Acting Master Ricardo Sandcroft of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) ordered that it would be set for case management on December 1 2020 at the next sitting of the Master’s Court in the British Virgin Islands.

“Matter is to be referred to mediation at the pre-crystallisation stage of these proceedings,” he said through the written judgement on September 29, 2020.

Attorneys Ms. Anthea Smith is counsel for the claimant, and Mrs. Marie-Lou Creque is counsel for the defendants.

The ECSC document indicates that the SSB brought the claim against the defendants for the sum of $49,673.86 for unpaid Social Security contributions owed by the defendants for the periods December 2008, January 2009 to December 2009, January 2010 to December 2010 and January 2011 to March 2011.

The defendant ultimately was ordered to make the payments through an April 14, 2017 judgment in default against the defendant for the sum $185,925.05 in addition to a statutory interest rate of 10% per annum.

However, Pickering filed an application on February 19, 2020, that the judgement in default should be set aside and the claim should be struck out since Klenton Pickering does not do business as Ground Works BVI and holds no such license to so do.

It continued: “There is no contractual relationship between the parties, and there is no duty, statutory or otherwise, owed by the defendant to the claimant.”

Nonetheless, the Master ruled that “all parties must help the court to further the overriding objective. It is no longer appropriate to “let sleeping dogs lie.” Having regard to the particular facts of this case and the court’s duty to give effect to the overriding objective when exercising its powers, any other outcome would, in my view be unjust. Therefore, in the circumstances, I am willing to vary the default judgment which will reflect the addition of the Pickering Group Limited.”

Master Sandcroft further said, the court retains the jurisdiction and discretion “to correct or cure certain defects or technicalities depending on the circumstances, if the interests of justice require it, and, it is my view that the formal defect or procedural technicalities in the application in this matter may be cured by the court and in fact, should be so cured at the date of the hearing of this application.”

“I find that it amounted to a procedural inadequacy which should not be fatal to the claim as the court should in the circumstances be able to exercise its discretionary powers to put things right in order to give effect to the overriding objective,” he added.

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