Absconding Debtors

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Absconding Debtors
ABSCONDING DEBTORS ACT

CHAPTER 8:08

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Act
20 of 1898

L.R.O.

Current Authorised Pages
Pages Authorised

(inclusive) by L.R.O.
1–8 ..

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014

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LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

2 Chap. 8:08 Absconding Debtors

Note on Subsidiary Legislation
This Chapter contains no subsidiary legislation.

Note on Adaptation

Certain fees in this Chapter were increased by the Commission under paragraph 4 of the Second
Schedule to the Law Revision Act (Ch. 3:03). Where this occurs, a marginal reference in the
form normally indicating an amendment is made to LN 51/1980 (the Legal Notice by which
the President’s approval was signified).

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014

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L.R.O.

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Absconding Debtors Chap. 8:08 3

CHAPTER 8:08

ABSCONDING DEBTORS ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Fugae Warrant.
3. When warrants not to issue.
4. Application for warrant.
5. Form of affidavit.
6. Warrant to be delivered to Marshal.
7. When sum and costs paid to Marshal.
8. Procedure on arrest.
9. Security.

10. Confessing judgment.
11. Imprisonment in default of security.
12. In certain cases Judge may discharge defendant and award him

damages and costs.
13. When defendant without means.
14. Committals to prison.
15. Rules.
16. When defendant entitled to discharge.
17. Application for discharge.

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014

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LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

4 Chap. 8:08 Absconding Debtors

CHAPTER 8:08

ABSCONDING DEBTORS ACT

An Act relating to the arrest of absconding debtors.

[5TH AUGUST 1898]

1. This Act may be cited as the Absconding Debtors Act.

2. A Judge of the High Court may, by warrant under his hand,
authorise the Marshal to arrest and bring before him or some other
Judge of the said Court any person alleged to be indebted and to
be about to quit Trinidad and Tobago on the conditions and subject
to the procedure set out below. Save as provided in this Act no
person shall be arrested for debt on mesne process.

3. Such warrant shall not issue against an infant, nor in respect
of any debt less than two hundred and fifty dollars, nor in respect
of any debt that has been due and owing for more than two years
previously to the application for such warrant, nor until an action
shall have been commenced by the alleged creditor against the
debtor for the recovery of such debt by writ specially endorsed as
provided by the Rules of the Supreme Court.

4. Such application shall be made only in respect of a debt or
liquidated demand for a sum of two hundred and fifty dollars or
upwards, and shall be founded on affidavit made by some person
who can swear positively thereto, verifying the cause of action
and the amount and the date when the amount accrued due, and
stating that in his belief there is no defence to the action, in the
same manner in every respect as the facts are stated in an application
for judgment in an action for a debt or liquidated demand in which
the defendant has appeared to a writ of summons specially endorsed.

5. The intention of the defendant to quit Trinidad and Tobago
shall in like manner appear on the same or another affidavit,
showing satisfactorily the ground on which the deponent believes,
and the date on which, and place for which, the debtor proposes to
leave, as far as the same is known to the deponent.

1950 Ed.
Ch. 6. No. 4.
20 of 1898.
Commencement.

Short title.

Fugae
Warrant.

When warrants
not to issue.
[51/1980].

Application for
warrant.
[51/1980].

Form of
affidavit.

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


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L.R.O.

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Absconding Debtors Chap. 8:08 5

6. If the Judge grants the application for a warrant of arrest,
the same shall forthwith be signed by the Judge and placed in the
hands of the Marshal, who shall immediately proceed to arrest the
person against whom such warrant is granted.

7. On the arrest the Marshal may receive the sum endorsed
on the writ, together with the prescribed costs of issuing and
executing the same, and in such event he shall forthwith endorse
the writ with a statement of such receipt, and return the same to
the Registry of the Supreme Court, and account for the money so
received in the same manner as if it had been received by him
under a writ of execution on a judgment, and shall release the
defendant immediately without any order of a Judge.

8. (1) The Marshal shall, at the time of making such arrest,
serve the defendant with the writ if not already served, and give
notice to the plaintiff, and convey the defendant in custody before
a Judge in Chambers if a Judge is then sitting in Chambers, and if
not, shall detain the defendant and on the next day that a Judge so
sits bring him before the Judge, who (the plaintiff being in
attendance or having been notified) may order the defendant either
to give security for the payment of the alleged debt, or to be
committed to prison in default of such security, or to be discharged,
and may, on the application of either party, adjourn the matter to
such convenient date, for such purposes, and on such terms as to
custody, security, the filing of further affidavits or otherwise, as he
thinks fit.

(2) The Judge may, if he thinks fit, require the person
arrested then and there to enter an appearance to the action in the
event of such appearance not having been already entered, and in
the event of his refusing to do so may order the Registrar of the
Supreme Court then and there to enter an appearance for him as
appearing in person, and without requiring the delivery of any
memorandum of appearance; and the Judge may, by consent of
the parties, proceed to dispose of the action by trial thereof without
appeal, or, in default of confession or of such consent, may direct
such action to be set down for trial, irrespective of the amount
claimed, at the first convenient sitting of the Court.

Warrant to be
delivered to
Marshal.

When sum and
costs paid to
Marshal.

Procedure on
arrest.

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6 Chap. 8:08 Absconding Debtors

(3) There shall be no pleadings in any such action unless
a Judge otherwise orders, but the affidavits filed on behalf of the
plaintiff and defendant, respectively, shall be taken to set forth the
respective grounds of claim and defence.

9. The security may be given by the deposit of money or by
bond or otherwise to the satisfaction of the Judge.

10. On the entry of appearance being made, the defendant
may forthwith confess judgment, and the same shall in such case
be entered accordingly for the debt, with such costs as the Judge
may award.

11. After judgment has been given in the action, the Judge
may, on its being proved to his satisfaction that the absence of the
debtor will materially prejudice the plaintiff in the recovery of his
judgment debt, order the imprisonment of the defendant in default
of security for such time as he may deem sufficient to enable the
plaintiff to obtain discovery under the Rules of the Supreme Court,
and in such case such rules shall be deemed to apply without any
summons for discovery having been taken out, and, subject
however to section 13, all subsequent proceedings shall in such
case be had and taken under such rules in the same manner as if
the defendant had been arrested on a discovery summons under
the said rules.

12. On the defendant appearing before the Judge, if the Judge—
(a) is satisfied that the defendant is not about to

quit Trinidad and Tobago or that his absence
from Trinidad and Tobago will not materially
prejudice the plaintiff in respect of the recovery
of the debt for which the action has been
brought; or

(b) is not satisfied, on hearing the parties and such
evidence as may be adduced, that the defendant
owes the plaintiff a sum of two hundred and fifty
dollars or over,

Security.

Confessing
judgment.

Imprisonment in
default of
security.

In certain cases
Judge may
discharge
defendant and
award him
damages and
costs.

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014

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LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Absconding Debtors Chap. 8:08 7

the Judge shall discharge the defendant unconditionally, and may
in such case, if he thinks fit, award such damages (to include costs)
in respect of the arrest and detention, to be paid to the defendant in
such time and manner as he may direct; and such damages shall in
such event be leviable by execution on the order of a Judge in the
same manner as costs under a judgment in an action.

13. If the defendant proves to the satisfaction of a Judge that
he is without means to pay the debt, and is not likely, if detained in
Trinidad and Tobago to obtain such means, then, whether judgment
has been confessed or not, the Judge may, in his discretion, refuse
to commit or detain the defendant on the ground that his absence
would not materially prejudice the plaintiff as aforesaid.

14. All committals to prison in pursuance of this Act shall be
in default of security only, and shall be to the Port-of-Spain Prison,
and in the event of the debt not having been admitted or confessed,
may be for such term, not exceeding three months in all in any
case, as the Judge may deem sufficient to give time for the trial of
the action, and for no longer; and no person once committed to
prison under this Act shall be again arrested or committed in respect
of the same debt or any part of it, either on a discovery summons
or under this Act.

15. The Rules Committee established by the Supreme Court
of Judicature Act shall have the same powers to make Rules, and
to prescribe forms, schedules of costs and fees in respect of any
procedure under this Act as are conferred on the Committee by
that Act in respect of the practice thereunder.

16. Any person committed under this Act shall be entitled, at
any time after such commitment, to an order of discharge to be
made by a Judge on proof of—

(a) the payment or settlement of the debt;
(b) the consent of the creditor;
(c) the giving of security as required;
(d) an adjudication of bankruptcy against the

defendant; or

When defendant
without means.

Committals to
prison.

Rules.
Ch. 4:01.

When defendant
entitled to
discharge.

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LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

8 Chap. 8:08 Absconding Debtors

(e) on satisfying the Judge that he is without means,
and that his absence will not materially prejudice
the plaintiff.

17. A defendant desirous of applying to a Judge for a discharge
on any of the above grounds shall, on notifying such desire, be
brought before such Judge by the Superintendent of Prisons, and
the Judge may refuse such application forthwith, or may direct
such notice thereof to be given to the plaintiff as he shall think
requisite, or, in case he is satisfied by sufficient documentary
evidence of any of the grounds mentioned in section 16(a), (b), (c)
or (d), may, if he thinks fit, order the discharge of the defendant
without calling on the plaintiff.

Application for
discharge.

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