High Court Prevents Lawyer from making applications for One-and-a-Half- Years

| General


In early October 2022, a story made the legal news which is a wake-up call to all legal professionals who have achieved a lengthy career within the profession and who aspire to enter the industry. The story was seemingly disclosed to the media when a leading High Court judge handed down a decision preventing a provider of legal services from submitting any form of court request for around one-year-and-a-half.      

What Happened In The Case?

So what prompted the respective High Court judge to hand down such a restrictive order. The lawyer was employed by a provider of legal services based in Khazkstan employed in the respected position of solicitor. The High Court Judge confirmed the substantive hearing was to assess if and how a civil restraint Order should be handed down to the provider of legal services. 

The legal professional had indicated that he would not make any further applications for respective High Court Orders and appears to have provided the courts with an undertaking affirmatively confirming on behalf of himself as a legal professional or the provider of the legal services he was acting on behalf of would not submit any more applications for any orders about the dispute in question. In litigious matters, judges allow parties a reasonable period to negotiate and this case was no exception when the judge even permitted negotiation time but alas to no avail.   

How Did The Other Side Respond?

The legal representative responsible for defending the claim was seemingly well within their rights to take a dim view of this offer and not to submit any further applications of this nature. This was on the following basis that the application had not been:

  • compiled in the correct manner 

  • submitted inside of the relevant application time limits

  • if a chance had been provided for the matter to be hammered out and 

  • if to the extent that it had been may have eaten up the court’s resources in terms of time. 

No Surprises

Under normal circumstances, this application for a Civil Restraint Order would presumably cause legal professionals immense embarrassment and this presumably would be the case here. However, the case was so serious because of the facts of this particular case as it emerged that just three short years ago in around 2019 a warning had been issued to the legal representative that if a dubious application of this nature was submitted in the future then the High Court may exercise its inherent discretion to step in and take action to stop further such applications for court orders being submitted by the legal profession. The warning from High Court had handed down this warning after the legal professional at the center of proceedings had sought to resolve legal proceedings which had seemingly dragged on for well over a decade in a particular case. This was a major cross-border dispute and back then litigious proceedings had been issued in the legal jurisdiction of the Bahamas, Australia, New Zealand, and the courts of England. 

What Did The Judge Say?

The High Court judge agreed that the lawyer’s decision to disregard the warnings of the previous judge and continue with the vexatious case was sufficiently serious to merit the handing down of a Civil Restraint Order.     

Lessons Learned?

Lawyers should be taking heed of this decision by:

  • complying with undertakings

  • realizing the folly of pursuing cases with limited prospects of success and

  • sticking to what they promise a judge during court proceedings. 

This will mitigate the risk of being convicted by the criminal courts. 

ASSESSING FIRMS

#AddleshawGoddard #CMS #EvershedsSutherland #DLAPiper #PinsentMasons #Shoosmiths #Brabners #DACBeachcroft #DavittJonesBould #DWF #GateleyPlc #HillDickinsonLLP #JMWSolicitors #KuitSteinartLevyLLP #Mills&Reeve #SquirePattonBoggs #TLT #Clyde&Co #BrownJacobsen

THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Michael Wilson & Partners Limited v John Forster Emmott [2022] EWHC 2405 (Comm) - Michael Wilson & Partners, Ltd v Emmott & Ors (Judgment on CRO Application) [2022] EWHC 2450 (Comm) (05 October 2022) (bailii.org)

[SOURCE 2] Hyde, John – Solicitor engaged in ‘pathological’ litigation handed civil restraint order – Law Society Gazette - 7 October 2022 - Solicitor engaged in ‘pathological’ litigation handed civil restraint order | News | Law Gazette  

[SOURCE 3] ‘Hyde, John’ – ‘Pathological litigation’: Court plea to rein in epic dispute between warring solicitors’ – 27 February 2019 – Law Society Gazette - 'Pathological litigation': Court plea to rein in epic dispute between warring solicitors | News | Law Gazette

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