Mr Justice Arnold’s recent judgment in Max Couper & Others v. Albion Properties Limted & Others  EWHC 22 (Ch) will be of interest to civil practitioners for two reasons.
The first is that it is the latest in a number of judgements where the Judge has felt it necessary to strongly criticise parties, who appear to have been litigants in person at the relevant time, for their conduct in the litigation. Arnold J highlighted that the effect of the First Claimant and Intervener’s actions in making several last minute applications in a number of different courts had the effect of preventing the timely enforcement of the courts’ orders.
The second reason is Arnold J’s approach to making an Extended Civil Restraint Order. Arnold J noted that he was entitled to make such an order pursuant to paragraph 3.1 of Practice Direction 3C where a party had persistently issued claims or made applications which were totally without merit. Prior to the particular hearings concerned, both the First Claimant and the Intervener (Mr and Mrs Couper) had each made three applications which had been dismissed without merit. Arnold J considered, due to the similarity of their applications, that they had been acting together and therefore had made six applications which were totally without merit. Arnold J found that the threshold had been passed and the First Claimant and Intervener’s conduct was an example of the behaviour an Extended Civil Restraint Order was designed to prevent.