Court name
Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos Islands
Case number
CL 127 of 2019

Lightbourne v The Progressive National Party Inc and ors. (CL 127 of 2019) [2020] TCASC 18 (15 January 2020);

Media neutral citation
[2020] TCASC 18
Case summary:

By Originating Summons filed 8 October 2019 and amended by Order of the Supreme Court on 23 October, the Plaintiff, Mr. George Lightbourne, applied for various declarations as to the meaning and effect of Article 24 and Schedule 4 of the Constitution of the First Defendant, the Progressive National Party (“the Constitution”) and a declaration as to whether the election of a new Party leader had been validly conducted in accordance with the Constitution. Mr. Lightbourne also sought a protective costs order. The matter was heard on the 26 November 2019 and Mr. Lightbourne’s application for a protective costs order as well as his summons were dismissed on that day.

Headnote and holding:

Summons dismissed. Protective costs orders are reserved for causes of action rooted in public law. The criteria for the grant of such an order is that the act or decision being challenged is one of public body. It is not available for what is essentially a private action on a contract inter se members of a political party. Further, the Plaintiff has a disqualifying private interest in the outcome of the proceedings (paras 6 – 8). See: R (Corner House Research) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2005] 1 WLR 2600 (CONSIDERED);  Baldwin v Everingham [1993] 1 QdR 10 (DISTINGUISHED).

The Constitution of the PNP sets out a template for the organisation and mandates that any question of the construction of its constitution is to be settled by the National General Council. 

Ramsay-Hale, CJ