February 07, 2024 COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE - ORDERS
Claim No. CFI 108/2021
THE DUBAI INTERNAIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
IN THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
(1) ALEXANDER REUTER
(3) ANDRE BLEDJIAN
(1) WELLNESS UNITED INC
(2) JACOB LOGOTHETIS (aka Iakovos Logothetis)
(3) ANGELA TUROVSKAYA
ORDER WITH REASONS OF JUSTICE LORD ANGUS GLENNIE
UPON the Part 8 Claim Form dated 13 December 2021
AND UPON the Judgment of Justice Lord Angus Glennie dated 27 October 2023 (the “Judgment”)
AND UPON the Order with Reasons of Justice Lord Angus Glennie dated 7 December 2023 (the “Order”)
AND UPON the Defendants’ Application No. CFI-108-2021/9 seeking a set aside of the Order, a stay of any enforcement proceedings to enforce the Judgment and an extension of time to file an application for permission to appeal the Judgment (the “Application”)
AND UPON reviewing all relevant submissions added on to the Court file
AND UPON reviewing the Rules of the DIFC Courts
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The Application is refused.
2. There shall be no order as to costs.
Date of issue: 7 February 2024
SCHEDULE OF REASONS
1. This is an application by the Defendants to set aside my Order of 7 December 2023 (the “Order”) and for other consequential relief (the “Application”).
2. By that Order I refused the Defendants’ application for a retrospective extension of time to allow them to file an appeal against my Judgment dated 27 October 2023 (the “Judgment”). What the Defendants seek, in essence, is an opportunity to appeal out of time against my Judgment.
3. In para. 2 of my Judgment, I set out part of the history of the matter to show that the Defendants had failed to engage with the process almost from the beginning. I need not repeat that here. In para. 3 of my Reasons attached to the Order I referred to what I had said earlier and pointed out that “Nothing in the Application under consideration [i.e. the Application for a retrospective extension of time to file an appeal] addresses these points”. In addition, no details were given in the Application of any likely grounds of appeal.
4. The present Application is supported by a Third Witness Statement made by Mr Keshav Raychaudhuri, a lawyer within the firm of Davidson & Co. Davidson & Co were, for a time, acting for the Defendants in the substantive proceedings against them but, as he explains in his Witness Statement, that firm was “disengaged” by the Defendants on 21 September 2023, some four days before the Trial in this matter which took place on 25 September 2023. Mr Raychaudhuri states (correctly) that the Defendants then requested an extension of time but this was not granted, adding the comment: “as a result of which none of the Defendants were able to arrange alternative legal representation or appear as litigants in person”. He does not explain what efforts were made to obtain alternative legal representation nor does it say why it was impossible for the Defendants to appear at trial in person. He goes on to say that the Defendants have now recently re engaged Davidson and Co.
5. Nowhere in his witness statement does Mr Raychaudhuri address the points made in my earlier Judgments. He does not give any explanation for the Defendants’ failure to engage with the process. Nor does he give any indication of the arguments which would be advanced if an extension of time were granted to enable the Defendants to appeal against my substantive Judgment in this matter. It will be recalled that the Defendants lead no evidence at the trial and failed to comply with the Orders that witness statements and expert reports be filed by certain dates in advance of the trial.
6. In the circumstances I see no proper basis for granting the order sought by the Defendants.
7. The Application is refused.