Isle of Man: Appeal Time Limits In The Isle Of Man
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.
The recent decision by the Isle of Man Staff of Government
Division in Old Mutual International v Leonteq Securities
& Otr (judgment dated 19 June 2020) offers a timely
reminder to litigants and their advocates as to the strict time
limits for an appeal. Indeed, Old Mutual illustrates that
the Staff of Government Division is ordinarily reluctant to grant
an extension of time to appeal notwithstanding that an advocate has
miscalculated the applicable time limit.
The Rules of the High Court of Justice 2009
Rule 14.6(2) states that a prospective appellant must file the
appeal notice within:
a. such period as may be allowed by a relevant statutory
b. where there is no such provision, such period as may be
directed by the lower court; or
c. where the lower court makes no such direction, the following
period after the date of the decision of the lower court that the
appellant wishes to appeal –
i. 42 days, in the case of a final judgment or order;
ii. 14 days, in any other case.
Most appeals to the Staff of Government are filed under sub
paragraph (c), but Old Mutual and other recent cases have
demonstrated confusion by appellants as to what constitutes a ‘final judgment or order’.
42 days or 14 days to appeal?
The answer to this question depends upon whether the judgment of
the lower Court finally disposes of all issues between the parties,
whichever way the Court finds. If, for example, the decision of the
lower Court has disposed of the entirety of the proceedings then
the time period for an appeal is 42 days. However, if not, then the
time limit is 14 days.
By way of an example, in a debt recovery claim which goes to
trial the Court will decide whether the debt is due or not.
Irrespective of which way the Court finds, finality is brought to
proceedings and so the appeal limit would be 42 days from the date
of the Court’s judgment. However, in contrast, where the
Court’s judgment concerns (for example) an application to
strike out the claim, whilst there would be finality if
successfully struck-out, the other option would be to dismiss the
application and the matter proceed to a full trial. As such,
because finality cannot be achieved by both options, only one, the
14 day appeal time limit applies.
This was the issue at hand in Old Mutual after the
Court of first instance had granted an application to set aside a
Claim Form in respect Leonteq on the basis of a lack of
jurisdiction. In this case, the appellant believed that it had 42
days to appeal. However, the Staff of Government Division held that
the 42 day time limit did not apply because had the Court of first
instance dismissed the application for strike out and declared that
it did have jurisdiction, then the proceedings would have
continued. The issues between the parties were therefore not
capable of being finally disposed of whichever way the Court found,
and therefore the correct time limit for any appeal was 14
Can the court retrospectively extend the time limit?
Whilst the Staff of Government Division is able to extend the
time limit for an appeal, it is rare that this discretion is
exercised. Applications will be closely scrutinised, and when
considering an application for an extension of time to appeal the
Court will consider issues such as the length of the delay, why it
has occurred and the prejudice which a respondent may suffer if an
application is granted. The Court has routinely held that a mistake
is not a valid reason for a delay, whether the mistake is made by a
party legally represented or not. In this regard the Court has
highlighted that the rules concerning appeal time limits are clear,
publicly available, and that there are no special rules for a
litigant in person over those legally represented.
The limited nature of the availability of extensions of time to
appeal is succinctly illustrated in Old Mutual, whereby
the Staff of Government refused to grant an extension of time for
the appeal, considering that the prospective respondent should not
be penalised for the other party’s failure to comply with Rule
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration from Isle of Man