Boodhoo, Jagram, (suing on behalf of themselves and the Sanatan Dharma Sudhar Sadha) v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago: PC 1 Apr 2004

PC (Trinidad and Tobago) The complainant said that his constitutional rights had been infringed by the court’s delay. Proceedings had begun in 1987 for redress with regard to a land dispute. There was substantial delay in the appeal, and at one point a judge had died after hearing the application but before he had delivered his judgement. Neither party could afford the necessary rehearing, and nor were they offered financial assistance.
Held: The constitution did not give a right to a hearing within any time frame. When the application was framed as a ‘protection of the law’ issue, the court should look first to the quality of the justice provided, and not its time frame. Different considerations applied for the failure to hand down a judgment as opposed to a failure to provide a hearing. A delay in producing a judgment deprived a party of his right to the protection of the law only where the judge ceased to be able to provide it, or the parties were unable to obtain the necessary benefit. A close definition of what delay was required for an infringement would not be fruitful. In this particular case a delay of 12 months was not unacceptable, and nor did the state deny protection by not providing financial assistance where a new trial became necessary.


Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Hope of Craighead, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood


[2004] UKPC 17, Times 09-Apr-2004, [2004] 1 WLR 1689


Bailii, PC


England and Wales


CitedGoose v Wilson Sandford and Co and Mainon CA 13-Feb-1998
A judge was properly criticised for failing to write up a judgment when the witness’ evidence was still fresh in his mind. A two year delay required a re-trial.
Peter Gibson LJ explained the potential effect of delay on the formulation and . .
MentionedSookermany v Director of Public Prosecutions 1-May-1996
The Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago dismissed an appeal against refusal of constitutional relief claimed on the ground of undue delay:- ‘As there are admittedly measures available to a trial judge to negative the prejudicial effect on the . .
CitedDirector of Public Prosecutions and others v Tokai and others PC 12-Jun-1996
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant had been charged in 1981 with offences alleged to have been committed shortly before. The proceedings continued until his appeal for one was dismissed in 1988. The wounding charges were proceeded with only in . .
CitedMaharaj v Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago (No 2) PC 27-Feb-1978
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant barrister has been convicted of contempt. The Board had previously found the conviction improper because the basis of the complaint had not been made clear to him. The appellant now sought damages for his . .
CitedCobham v Frett PC 18-Dec-2000
(British Virgin Islands) Two issues arose. First, what was the consequence of inordinate delay between a judge hearing a case and giving his decision, and secondly, how was the law of adverse possession to be applied in cases of interrupted or . .

Cited by:

CitedCampbell v Hamlet (as executrix of Simon Alexander) PC 25-Apr-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) The appellant was an attorney. A complaint was made that he had been given money to buy land, but neither had the land been conveyed nor the money returned. The complaint began in 1988, but final speeches were not heard until . .
CitedBond v Dunster Properties Ltd and Others CA 21-Apr-2011
The defendant appealed against the judge’s findings as to fact delivered some 22 months after the hearing.
Held: The appeal failed. Though such a delay must require the court carefully to investigate the judgment, it did not of itself . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 26 July 2022; Ref: scu.195698