ON APPEAL FROM HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE QUEENS BENCH DIVISION
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE TOULSON
LORD JUSTICE SULLIVAN
| RICHARD HAYDEN
RAYDEN ENGINEERING LTD
|- and -
RAYDEN ENGINEERING LTD
Mr Mike Carver, Ms Diane Charlton and Mr Robert Charlton (McKenzie friend) the Respondents acting in person
Hearing dates: 15 June 2011
Crown Copyright ©
Lord Justice Toulson:
"In this case, the only rational conclusion to be drawn from the claimants' conduct of this litigation in my judgment is that they have lost interest in the litigation, and have no genuine desire to pursue it or to vindicate their reputation, and in that respect the continuation of these actions is an abuse."
"Tension flared last week when Rayden Engineering Limited, of Wentworth Street, Ilkeston, put up an 8ft steel palisade fencing around a piece of unregistered land they planned to use for storage.
But residents whose homes back onto the triangular-shaped plot say it has left them feeling claustrophobic and angry after they spent the weekend marking the boundaries of the unregistered land they wanted to claim.
Diane Charlton, of Wentworth Street, said: "I actually feel like I'm in prison, we're absolutely closed in."
Residents overlooking it spent the weekend recreating the borders of their own properties and putting up bunting until a small fence could be erected.
They claim they had plans to create a pathway and plant trees – but contractors soon moved in to put up security fencing."
"MR HAYDEN TOOK FLOOD LAND THAT DID NOT BELONG TO HIM
MR HAYDEN DEVELOPED THAT FLOOD LAND AGAINST OFFICIAL ADVICE
MR HAYDEN HAD PRIOR KNOWLEDGE THAT THE DEVELOPMENT WOULD INCREASE FLOOD RISK
MR HAYDEN WAS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FLOODING OF 15 NEIGHBOURING HOMES
MR HAYDEN HAS DONE NOTHING TO ALLEVIATE THIS INCREASED FLOOD RISK TO OUR HOMES
MR HAYDEN HAS SUBJECT(sic) HIS NEIGHBOURS TO A SUSTAINED CAMPAIGN OF HARASSMENT
MR HAYDEN CANNOT KEEP TAKING THINGS THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM AND RESORTING TO BULLYING, HARASSMENT AND DECEPTION IN WHICH TO ACHIEVE THEM"
"I find this whole scenario very unsatisfactory for more than one reason, i.e.:
1. during the course of our telecom on 29 July I asked you how the defamation case with Charlton was progressing and if you needed me to do anything imminently as I would be away for a weeks holiday from Saturday; and you said "everything is going OK, I thinks its simply the case that Mrs Charlton is adamant she's going to have her day in court,
2. this conversation took place at a time when you were aware of the fiasco leading up to the high court writ,
3. I have absolutely no idea where we are with the defamation case,
4. I don't know what to expect next,
5. I am concerned that you will suddenly heap another bundle of time bound questions/clarifications on me and demand an immediate response (as you have in the past) at a time when I am absolutely flat out managing Rayden Engineering Limited.
6. I have still not had a detailed account of the events which led up to the high court writ being served on both my company and myself on the 6th August,
7. to date, Rayden Engineering Limited has expended near on £100,000 on this distasteful saga.
Can I please have your response to the above mentioned at your earliest opportunity."
"…so far as is practicable –
(a) ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing;
(b) saving expense;
(c) dealing with a case in ways which are proportionate –
(i) to the amount of money involved;
(ii) to the importance of the case;
(iii) to the complexity of the issues; and
(iv) to the financial position of each party;
(d) ensuring that it is dealt with expeditiously and fairly; and
(e) allotting to it an appropriate share of the court's resources, while taking into account the need to allot resources to other cases."
"81. …the limitation period for libel actions is one year. Parties who start libel actions are expected to get on with them…
82. …whether a defendant is a journalist, or person such as Mrs Charlton, who wishes to speak her mind about an issue which arises almost literally on her doorstep, there are important article 10 considerations so it seems to me, which arise when actions for libel are brought and not progressed, in particular when the power and resources of the parties are so different, and where the fact of being sued at all is a serious interference with freedom of expression…"
"69. In her oral submissions Mrs Charlton said the strain of the litigation and of the claimants conduct of the litigation, on both her and Mr Carver, as litigants in person, had been terrible. Her house was knee-deep in files. She said for years now she had had no family life and had not been able to spend any quality time with her husband, who was recovering from a severe illness. She said she needed to see an end to this and some light at the end of the tunnel…
75. In my view, the following factors are of particular importance in this case… Sixth, the significant prejudicial and oppressive effect that the claimants' conduct of the litigation has had on the defendants, who as litigants in person have been placed in the position where it is they who have had to struggle to progress the actions brought against them.
76. As to the last point, I refer to Mrs Charlton's submissions which I have set out at paragraph 69 above and which I accept. The burden and strain that had been placed on both defendants by the claimants' conduct was apparent to me at the hearing. Mrs Charlton in particular was extremely distressed by the behaviour of the claimants…"
Lord Justice Sullivan:
Lord Justice Pill: