Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pōhiva (L) Lord Sevele

The Supreme Court has overturned a ruling against the government in a case involving the Pacific Games Organising Committee.

The Committee was established under the Pacific Games Organization Act to conduct the  2019 Pacific Games in Tonga.

On May 17, 2017,  the Government of Tonga decided to withdraw from hosting the Games.

On July 27 of that year the Committee decided to wind up its affairs and agreed to terms upon which its employees would be terminated. In each case the Committee accepted a contractual liability to pay them for the early termination of their contracts.

In September 2017, the plaintiffs’ Counsel wrote to the Minister of Finance giving notice that the Government was responsible for payment of the employment contracts.

On January 9 this year the plaintiffs began proceedings to recover their money from the Committee and from the Kingdom.

No statement of defence was filed by the Kingdom and on the plaintiffs’ application judgment in default of defence as to liability was entered against the Kingdom on August 2, 2018.

The Kingdom applied for the default judgment to be set aside on August 22 this year.

The Kingdom argued that there was good reason for its failure to file a defence, as the parties’ preference was to reach a negotiated settlement.

Following negotiations between the two parties, the government received an undertaking that if no settlement was reached the Kingdom would be given time to file  its defence. I

In his summing up of the case, Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said it was the Kingdom’s case that the plaintiffs attempted to ‘steal a march’ by applying for judgment by default.

Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said the plaintiffs argued that the Kingdom had been granted extensions of time to file its defence, which was considerably  overdue  and  the  ‘undertaking’  did not  grant the Kingdom ‘unlimited time’ to file a defence.

When the government failed to respond  to the settlement offer, the plaintiffs contend, they were entitled to apply for judgment by default without giving further notice.

“The Kingdom was overdue in filing its defence and it would have been prudent to have done so,” the judge said.

The judge said he accepted that when he applied for judgment on the plaintiffs’  behalf, their lawyer  was not breaching his undertaking, at least according to its terms, if not its spirit.

“It was known that the government intended to file a defence if there was no settlement,” the judge said.

Against the background of the extensions of time that had been given, the undertaking,  the  unfinished settlement negotiations and discussions that had occurred, it was understandable that the government considered there was no need for him to file the Kingdom’s  defence.

“The Kingdom’s applications are successful. The judgments in default  of  defence obtained by the plaintiffs are set aside.”

The main points

  • The Supreme Court has overturned a ruling against the government in a case involving the Pacific Games Organising Committee.
  • The Committee was established under the Pacific Games Organization Act to conduct the  2019  Pacific  Games  in Tonga.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Kuo fakata’e’aonga’i ‘e he Fakamaau’anga Lahi’ ‘a e tu’utu’uni ne mo’ulaloa ai e pule’anga’ ‘i ha keisi fekau’aki mo e Komiti Fokotu’utu’u ‘a Tonga ki he Keimi ‘a e Pasifiki’ 2019.

    ‘A ia ko hono kaniseli ‘eni ‘a hono ‘uluaki tali ‘e ha fakamaau’anga’ ke totongi huhu’i ‘e he pule’anga ‘a e kau ngāue he kōmiti fokotu’utu’u ‘o e Sipoti Pasifiki 2019 tu’unga hono ta’ofi ‘o e sipoti’’e he pule’anga’.

    Na’e fokotu’u ‘a e kōmiti ‘i he malumalu ‘o e lao ki he Pacific Games Organisazation Act ke fakalele ‘a e Keimi ‘a e Pasifiki ‘i he 2019 ‘i Tonga’.

    ‘I Mē aho 17, 2017 na’e loto ai e pule’anga Tonga ke holomui ia mei hono fakalele ‘o e Keimi.
    ‘I Siulai ‘aho 27 ‘o e ta’u ko ia’ na’e loto ai ‘a e Komiti’ ke fakangata e fakahoko fatongia ‘ene kau ngāue’. ‘I ha aleapau, na’e loto ai e Kōmiti’ ke totongi e huhu’i e kau ngāue’ koeuhi ko hono fakangata te’eki taimi ‘enau konituleki’.
    Na’e tohi leva e loea ‘a e kau talatalaaki’ ‘a ia ko Looti Sevele ‘O Vailahi, Mangisi Halafihi, Ian Tu’ihalangingie, Mele Lupe ‘Ilaiu, Soakai Motu’apuaka, Polutele Tu’ihalamaka, Naitilima Tupou, Paula Tu’utafaiv a, ‘Etonisia Tonga, Sakopo Lolohea ki he pule’anga’ ke nau totongi ‘a e fakamole ni.
    Na’e hoko atu leva ‘i Sanuali ‘aho 9 ‘a e kau talatalaaki ‘o fai ha ngaue fakalao ke ‘eke’ ‘enau pa’anga mei he Kōmiti’ mo e pule’anga Tonga’.
    Na’e ‘ikai lava ha tali fakalao ‘a e pule’anga he taimi ko ia ke faile ki he fakamaau’anga ‘o fakafepaki’i e faka’ilo ‘a e kau talatalaaki ko ai ai na’e fakahu atu leva ‘e he loea kau talatalaaki’ ha tohi mo’ua ‘i ‘Aokosi ‘a ho 2 ke totongi mai ā enau ‘eke pa’anga’.
    Ne toki fakahū leva ‘e he pule’anga’ ‘enau malu’i’ ‘i ‘Aokosi ‘aho 22 ‘o kole ke fakatatafe e ‘eke mo’ua ko ‘eni kuo tali’ he ne ‘i ai ‘a e ‘uhinga lelei ke ‘ikai fakahū atu ai ha tohi taukapo ‘a e pule’anga’ ke fakafepaki’i ‘a e ‘eke mo’ua ‘a e kau talatalaaki’ he koe’uhi ne loto ‘a e ongo fa’ahi ke nau alea’i ha me’a te nau feletoi ki ai’
    Hili a e alea ‘a e ongo fa’ahi na’e ma’u ai ‘e he pule’anga ha tohi fakaha ‘o pehe ka ‘ikai ke loto e pule’anga ki ha totongi ‘e fai ha felotoi ki ai kuopau ke faile leva ‘e he pule’anga ha’ane tali ki he ‘eke kuo feia’.
    ‘I hono fakamā’opo’opo’ na’e pehe ‘e Fakamaau Lahi Paulsen ko e keisi ‘eni ia ‘a e pule’anga kuo feinga e kau talatalaaki’ ke nau fa’ao ‘aki ‘enau tomu’a kole ‘enautolu ki he fakamaau’anga ke tu’utu’uni ki he’enau ‘eke te’eki a’u ki ha felotoi.
    Pehe ‘e Paulsen ne ‘osi ‘ilo pe ‘e faile ‘e pule’anga ‘enau taukapo kapau ‘e ‘ikai a’u ki ha tu’unga kuo nau felotoi.
    Na’a ne tu’utu’uni ai ke fakatatafe ‘a e tu’utu’uni fakamaau’anga ne tali ai ke totongi leva ‘e he pule’anga e ‘eke vahenga huhu’i ‘a e kau talatalaaki’

  2. MALO KANIVA FAKAMA’ALA’ALA MAI E ISSUE KOENI ON 2019 PACIFIC SPORTS CANCELLATION ….TONGA CAN STILL HOST THE GAMES LATER , WHEN ITS SPORTS FIELDS ARE OF “SAFETY” WORLD STANDARD ..THE SUVA/FIJI MAIN PACIFIC GAMES COMMITTEE IS AT FAULT FOR APPROVING A COUNTRY TO HOST ..WHEN THEY, HOSTING NATION DONT EVEN HAVE ANY “RELIABLE” SPORTS FACILITIES IN PLACE …THE MAIN PACIFIC GAMES COMMITTEE IS MONEY HUNGRY , AND HAVE “NO HUMANE” CONSIDERATION OF ATHLETES ..! ATHLETES INSURANCE COMPANIES CAN SUE THEM ..FOR MILLIONS …

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here