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Caribbean Court of Justice orders parties to fulfil their contract for sale of land

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Fri Apr 26, 2013

by LaToya Greene,
Eugene Dupuch Law School

In this case, the Caribbean Court of Justice ruled that a contract for the sale of land should be enforced against John Dyrud, despite Sea Havens’ breach of its obligation to pay insurance premiums and land taxes in addition to monthly payments of US $9,104.50 toward payment of the purchase price with interest.{{more}}

In March, 1997, John Dyrud granted a lease to Sea Havens Inc of property known as “The Moorings” in Barbados for eight months, commencing 1st April, 1997. Sea Havens used The Moorings to provide accommodation for visitors to Barbados. The lease also gave Sea Havens the option to purchase the property for the price of US$600,000. In March 2000, Sea Havens validly exercised this option and gained the right to demand absolute ownership of the property once it paid the full purchase price.

However, on October 5th, 2001, Mr Dyrud gave 28 days’ notice to Sea Havens to forfeit the agreement, unless Sea Havens paid its outstanding monthly rents and taxes, as well as the outstanding balance of the purchase price. Subsequently, Sea Havens sued Mr Dyrud at the Barbados High Court for a mandatory court order requiring Mr Dyrud to sell the property to Sea Havens in accordance with the contract. Sea Havens claimed that it had always been ready and willing to pay the purchase money for The Moorings. Both the High Court and Court of Appeal of Barbados dismissed Sea Havens’ case. Sea Havens then appealed to the CCJ.

The CCJ Judges stated that there was nothing to stop Sea Havens from being entitled to enforce the contract by paying Mr Dyrud the outstanding monies. Mr Dyrud never exercised his rights to terminate the contract. The Judges further decided that “the totality of the evidence suggests to us that it is more likely than not that [Sea Havens] would have been able to produce the necessary moneys to complete a purchase of The Moorings” by the necessary date.

The CCJ, therefore, gave judgment to Sea Havens and ordered specific performance of the contract. The result of this judgment was that both sides were obliged to carry out their responsibilities under the contract and to complete the sale. Within 28 days of the Court’s decision, Sea Havens was ordered to pay all outstanding monies to Mr Dyrud, who, by that time, was to deliver possession of The Moorings over to Sea Havens.

This summary is intended to assist the Caribbean public in learning more about the work of the CCJ. It is not a formal document of the Court. The judgment of the Court is the only authoritative document and may be found at http://chooseavirb.com/ccj/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Sea-Haven-Inc-v-Dyrud-FINAL-02-11-111.pdf

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