Changes to names of parties of a lawsuit may be corrected

The Court has wide powers to correct the names of acts of court cases in order to allow these cases to proceed further

The Court has wide powers to correct the names of acts of court cases in order to allow these cases to proceed further. This was held Chadborn Holdings Limited -v- Tipico Co Ltd and Oliver Voigt, decided on 11 March 2020 by the First Hall of the Civil Courts presided by Mr Justice Robert Mangion.

In this case Chadborn Holdings Limited presented an application asking that it details be corrected in that it was not registered at the British Virgin Islands but in the Seychelles. The two defendants objected.

Chadborn argued that in the application that initiated the proceedings that the error was limited to where the company was registered. This correction is allowed in terms of Article 175 of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure.

The defendants objections are based on the fact that the application requesting the correction is done by a company which does not exist and the request amounts to the substitution of a party to the case and not a simple mistake. In fact, a company with the name of Chadborn happened to be registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and has a commercial relationship with Tipico. There this is not a mistake and that the same company had filed another action correctly indicating that it is registered in the Sychelles.

Article 175(1) of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure (COCP) reads:

“175. (1) The court may, at any stage of the proceedings, at the request of any of the parties, until judgment is delivered after hearing where necessary the parties, order the substitution of any act or permit any written pleading to be amended, either by adding or striking out the name of any party and substituting another name therefor or by correcting any mistake in the name or in the character of the parties, or by correcting any other mistake or by causing other submission of fact or of law to be added even by separate note, provided that no such substitution or amendment shall affect the substance either of the action or of the defence on the merits of the case.”

Mr Justice Mangion held that the Court are given a wide discretion to make correction to the names of the parties as long as these corrections to not affect the substance of the action or the defences put forward. Antonios Stampolidis, who represented Chadborn in these proceedings filed a case against the defendant in order to get a contract signed in February 2013 declared null and void. He had attached a copy of the contract and the contract makes reference to Chadborn registered in the Seychelles and not the BVI. The two defendants had filed their statement of defence. The Court quoted from a previous judgement Joseph M Vella et -v- Vella Brothers Limited decided by the Court of Appeal on 9 March 2007. In this judgement the Court held that Article 175 of the COCP is intended to preserve the validity of the acts of the case and avoid multitude of cases because the acts are declared null and void because of an error.

This type of correction can be done by the Courts without the necessity of holding a sitting in open court. As regard to the terms that the corrections shall not affect the substance either of the action or of the defences, in fact means that the parties should not be prejudiced by the correction. Article 175 of the COCP should allow a wide interpretation allowing the court to permit corrections. This article of the law was introduced in 1995 purposely to allow corrections, because before 1995, court cases fell through because of errors to the acts of the case and corrections were not allowed. This was allowed for justice to prevail.

In this particular case, the correction to the name of the company reflects the name mentioned in the contract. There are no other correction to be made.

The objection is based on the fact that the request for the correction was made by the company’s representative. There is no choice, and this had to be done. The correction will not affect the substance of the action and the pleas. With the correction requested the action will remain identical.

The Court then moved to uphold the request for a correction and order that the proceedings continue.

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