Background

The Applicant, a private leasing company, applied for the Respondent to be held in contempt of court for having failed to comply with an Order for a ‘saisie revendication’ (provisional attachment) of three vehicles and one piece of machinery. The application was based on the Respondent’s failure to hand over the items to the Usher at the time of the execution of the Order.

The Respondent raised a preliminary objection to the effect that the application for contempt was procedurally flawed and could not therefore be accepted by the Court. The objection was on the basis that contempt of court proceedings were not available for non-compliance with an order for ‘saisie revendication’ that was obtained ex-parte.

Decision

The Court held that the preliminary objection raised by the Respondent was valid and the motion for contempt was set aside. The Court concluded that where there is opposition, in the manner described in the Usher’s return (or procès verbal), the matter must be referred to the Judge in Chambers.

The Court went on to consider the laws governing the jurisdiction of the Judge in Chambers and quoted Article 806 of the Code de Procedure Civile:

Dans tous les cas d’urgence, ou lorsqu’il s’agira de statuer provisoirement sur les difficultés relatives à l’exécution d’un titre exécutoire ou d’un jugement, il sera procédé ainsi qu’il y va être réglés ci-après.’

It concluded that Article 806 permits the intervention of the Judge in Chambers in all cases requiring urgency. The Judge in Chambers is empowered to then take the appropriate action that the circumstances demand namely to continue or stay the process.

It was possible for the Applicant (requérant) to safeguard his interests by “établir gardien aux portes” until the matter be determined by the Judge in Chambers. The terminology “établir gardien aux portes” means that the Applicant may have recourse to the District Magistrate, or to the Commissioner of Police or to municipalities, in the presence of which, the ‘saisie’ will take place.

The successful Respondent was represented by Yahia Nazroo and Dushyant Ramdhur of Appleby.

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