Morton Skeete and Ina Skeete also known as Ina Elaine Skeete by their duly constituted attorney on record in this island

JudgeMr. Justice William Chandler
Judgment Date22 December 2020
Neutral CitationBB 2020 HC 086
Docket NumberClaim No. C.V. 603 of 2020
CourtHigh Court (Barbados)




Before the Honourable Mr. Justice William Chandler, Judge of the High Court

Claim No. C.V. 603 of 2020

In the Matter of Sections 43, 46 and 76 of the Trustee Act Chapter 250 of the Laws of Barbados.

And in the Matter of Part 111 of the Property Act Chapter 236 of the Laws of Barbados.

And in the Matter of a Trust Created By Way of Indenture dated 17th June 1976.

Morton Skeete and Ina Skeete also known as Ina Elaine Skeete by their duly constituted attorney on record in this island.

Mr. Dwight Moseley, Attorney-at-Law for the Claimants

Conveyancing-Conveyance to Attorney-at-Law and his heirs unto and to the use of X and her heirs — construction of the grant.-whether trust created-Death of trustee — whether need to appoint new trustees under the Trustee Act — Application of the Statute of Uses 1535 UK — reception of English law in Barbados.


This matter involves the application of the Statute of Uses 1535 (the Statute), a sixteenth century English Statute, received in Barbados on its settlement in 1627. This statute was repealed in England by the Law of Property Act 1925 and in Barbados by section 215 of the Property Act Cap 236 but its effect on the conveyancing law and practice in Barbados is still seen today.

Brief background

By virtue of the indenture dated 17 th day of June, 1976 (the indenture) and made between Ada Lavinia Griffith, as executrix and personal representative of the estate of Joseph Nathaniel Griffith, deceased of the First Part, Gwendolyn Greenidge and others (as Vendors therein) of the Second Part, Morton Skeete and Ina Skeete, his wife (as purchasers therein) of the Third Part and Peter Nigel Huan Johnson, Attorney-at-law (Mr. Johnson), (as Grantee to Uses) of the Fourth Part 12 roods and three perches of land at Checker Hall in the Parish of Saint Lucy in this Island (the property) was conveyed to Mr. Johnson, as Grantee to Uses and his heirs to the use of the said Ina Skeete andMorton Skeete and their heirs and assigns as joint tenants.


The Claimants entered into an agreement for the sale of the property in consideration of the building of a road at Checker Hall also in the Parish of Saint Lucy in this Island. The Purchaser's Attorney-at-Law, in her requisition on title, required that an application be made appointing the Claimants in substitution for Mr. Johnson as Grantee to Uses since it appeared that Mr. Johnson's whereabouts were unknown and his heirs could not be ascertained.


This is the factual matrix in which the application was made.

The Claim

The Claimants filed a Fixed Date Claim Form on 30 June 2020 for the following relief:

  • 1. That the claimants and/or their duly constituted attorney on record Franklin Griffith their heirs, successors and assigns be appointed in substitution for Peter Nigel Huan Johnson and his heirs in respect of the land conveyed by indenture dated 17 June 1976 pursuant to Section 3 of the Trustee Act Cap 250 (Cap 250), and

  • 2. Such further or other relief as this honorable court thinks fit.

The Affidavit in Support

The claim is supported by the affidavit of Franklin Griffith filed on even date with the Claim Form to which is attached a power of attorney dated 24 April 2019 by virtue of which the deponent was constituted and appointed the attorney on record of the Claimants for the purposes of completing the sale and purchase of the property. A copy of the indenture is also attached to the affidavit. The deponent is the brother of Ina Skeete.


The salient parts of the affidavit aver that the property was conveyed in the manner previously recited in this decision; that the Claimants had entered into the arrangement for the sale of the property for the reasons also previously outlined and that the Claimants had been advised by their attorney-at-law and verily believed that the conveyance to a grantee to uses was for the purposes of avoiding certain estate tax liability in the past. Further that the Claimants had also been advised that prior to 1980 Ina Skeete, one of the vendors in the indenture was precluded by the then applicable law from conveying or transferring land to herself and it therefore became necessary to appoint Mr. Johnson as grantee to uses is in order to effect the said transfer.


It was further deposed that the Claimants were unaware of who Mr. Johnson was or who his heirs might be. In consequence, they were making this application for the appointment of new trustees either in substitution for or in addition to any existing trustees.

The Issue

The sole issue is whether there is a need to appoint a trustee or trustees in substitution for Mr. Johnson having regard to the applicable law at the time of the execution of the indenture.


When this matter first came on for hearing on a certificate of urgency, the Court opined that the application may have been unnecessary having regard to the fact that the matter really touched...

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