The BVI Courts’ long summer vacation (the Long Vacation) runs, pursuant to Eastern Caribbean Civil Procedure Rule (EC CPR) 3.3(c), from 1 August to 15 September. The Court still sits for urgent matters. However, unlike the English CPR, the EC CPR provides that during the Long Vacation in certain circumstances, the time for compliance under the Rules does not run.

EC CPR 3.5 states:

“(1) During the long vacation, the time prescribed by these Rules or by any practice direction for filing or serving any statement of case (other than a statement of claim) does not run unless the court orders or directs that time shall run.”

This is an easy rule to misinterpret.

The tolling of time under EC CPR 3.5 applies only to statements of case (with the exception of a statement of claim). At EC CPR 2.4, a “statement of case” is defined as:

“(a) a claim form, statement of claim, defence, counterclaim, ancillary claim form or defence and a reply; and

(b) any further information given in relation to any statement of case under Part 34 either voluntarily or by order of the court.”

The effect of CPR 3.5 is therefore to simply exclude statements of claim from the Long Vacation Rule. So if you are filing or serving a statement of claim, the normal position applies!

For any other statement of case time for compliance stops on 1 August and starts again on 15 September.

It is important to note that CPR 3.5 does not apply to appeal filings, the filing and/or service of affidavits or witness statements, or the filing or service of any other document for that matter.