Fri | Jun 18, 2021

Gov’t wins appeal preventing creditors from garnishing state accounts

Published:Thursday | May 6, 2021 | 12:15 AM

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC):

The Grenada government says it has won an appeal to prevent State creditors from garnishing the State’s accounts and using other similar execution methods when enforcing money judgments against the State.

In a statement, the government said the ruling was delivered in the appeal, The Attorney General of Grenada v Shorn Braveboy and Letisha Lessey-Braveboy, and that the Court of Appeal has reserved the reasons for its decision.

The statement said that the Court of Appeal’s ruling sets aside the July 2019 decision of Justice Smith, which declared Section 21(4) of the Crown Proceedings Act (CPA) and rules 50.2(3) and 59.7 of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) unconstitutional.

“This effectively restores them as part of the laws of Grenada,” the statement said, adding that the legislation and the rules “relate to creditors enforcing money judgments against the State of Grenada and restricts the methods of enforcement that may be used by State’s creditors”.

NO INDIVIDUAL LIABILITY

According to the statement, Section 21(4) of the CPA also provides that no person within the public service shall be individually liable for the payment of such money or costs that may be ordered for payment by the Crown, or any ministry or government department.

“This essentially means that the assets of permanent secretaries or other government officials cannot be garnished as part of any attempt to enforce a legal judgment against the State.

“Further, these important provisions within the law determine what is permissible under the constitution as it relates to monies in the Consolidated Fund, which is the fund where all government revenues and receipts are lodged and from where government spending is approved,” the statement noted.

It said that the ruling is significant for government “because if creditors are allowed to garnish the State’s accounts, this will hinder the ability of the State to properly manage public resources for the purposes of development, recurrent expenditures, payment of debts, and other such associated matters”.