CDNIS vs Lalwani: Tank and aeroplane versus a pistol

The Canadian International School continues to fight in court to move its Labour Tribunal case against claimant Sanjay Lalwani to the Court of First Instance. The judge likened the disparity in resources in this “war” to a soldier with a pistol versus an opponent with an aeroplane and a tank.


The Sanjay Lalwani case seeking claims continued today as he seeks claims against CDNIS for wrongful dismissal. The Labour Tribunal continued to hear arguments relating to the School’s attempt to move the case from the lawyer free Labour Tribunal to the costly and time consuming Court of 1st Instance.

Indeed, the Presiding Officer, Mr David Chum, recognised Mr Lalwani’s desire to keep the conflict, as much as possible, in the Labour Tribunal, owing to the disparity in resources between the cashed up school and the unemployed Mr Lalwani. He likened the “war” to a soldier facing what must seem unfair to him. “They have a high power weapon and you have a pistol.” He continued, “They have a tank and aeroplane.”

However, the school has claimed that the contract issues have been superseded by issues of tort, namely those pertaining to Mr Lalwani not disclosing his past history of having being accused of  misconduct when we was hired.  They claimed the ‘complex legal principles’ meant that the issues should be resolved in the Court of 1st Instance by professional legal experts, i.e. lawyers.

Mr Lalwani takes the opposite position that it is a matter of contract. There are also issues surrounding the fact finding elements of the case to determine what happened in terms of his disclosure to his employers when.  The School is hoping to argue the complexity means it should  be handled in the higher courts by legal professionals.

The School presented a lengthy, lawyer-written brief to the courts and claimant on Friday (October 30) for the proceedings on Monday (November 2). Mr Lalwani was given 20 minutes break in the proceedings to review and to respond.  As the defendant, the School has the last say in proceedings.

Mr Lalwani has applied for Legal Aid, been denied, and has an appeal hearing on January 8, 2016. In the meantime, proceedings against him by the School in the High Court have a deadline of submission of documents for November 8, 2016.

Mr Chum described the issue of whether or not to transfer the case as “very serious” and “very important” and so he would need some time to review and prepare his decision. He set the time and date for a decision for 10:30am on November 30, 2105 in Court 9. There will be no determination of costs awarded to the claimant, only a decision regarding the referral of the case to a higher court, to see if the School can roll its legal financial Panzer over Mr Lalwani’s meagre resources.

the author

Andrew Work is the CEO of New Work Media, publisher of Harbour Times. He has run The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, founded The Lion Rock Institute and has over 25 years engagement in media, politics, policy and community engagement.