QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE MACKAY
|HM ATTORNEY GENERAL||(CLAIMANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
THE DEFENDANT APPEARED IN PERSON
Crown Copyright ©
" ... from taking any step whatever within the Royal Courts of Justice, whether in the face of any court or otherwise, by acting or purporting to act on behalf of any person other than himself in any legal proceedings or intended or prospective legal proceedings save with the leave of the High Court or the Court of Appeal..."
"If, on an application made by the Attorney General under this section, the High Court is satisfied that any person has habitually and persistently and without any reasonable ground-
(a) instituted vexatious civil proceedings, whether in the High Court or any inferior court, and whether against the same person or against different persons; or
(b) made vexatious applications in any civil proceedings, whether in the High Court or any inferior court, and whether instituted by him or another; ...
The court may, after hearing that person or giving him an opportunity of being heard, make a civil proceedings order..."
"No civil proceedings shall without the leave of the High Court be instituted in any court by the person against whom the order is made, that any civil proceedings instituted by the person in any court before the making of the order shall not be continued by him without the leave of the High Court, and that no application (other than one for leave under the section) shall be made by the person, in any civil proceedings instituted in any court by any person, without the leave of the High Court."
" ... will depend on [its] assessment of where the balance of justice lies, taking account on the one hand of a citizen's prima facie right to invoke the jurisdiction of the civil courts and on the other the need to provide members of the public with a measure of protection against abusive and ill-founded claims."
"The essential vice of habitual and persistent litigation is keeping on and on litigating when earlier litigation has been unsuccessful and when on any rational and objective assessment the time has come to stop."
That there must be an element of repetition is axiomatic. However the repetition need not be over a long period of time.
Two further principles are apparent from the case of Attorney General V Jones  WLR 859. First, that the court considering the issue of a civil proceedings order is entitled to rely upon the conclusions of judges in the underlying proceedings, that the litigant's conduct in those particular proceedings had been vexatious or had involved an abuse of the process of the court; secondly, although the power to restrain someone from commencing or continuing legal proceedings is a drastic restriction of his civil rights, there must come a time when it is right to exercise that power because opponents who are harassed by the worry and expense of vexatious litigation are entitled to protection and because the resources of the judicial system are barely sufficient to afford justice without unreasonable delay to those who do have genuine grievances and should not be squandered on those who do not. Those then are the relevant principles.
Mr Alexander appealed against the dismissal of his application to annul the bankruptcy order. That appeal was heard and dismissed on 11st July 2000. He made further applications for permission to appeal and for stays of execution pending appeal, to both the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords; all such applications were refused. He made more applications for stays of execution. Indeed, in the course of his oral submissions today Mr Alexander stated with apparent pride that he had sought to challenge the bankruptcy on no less than 86 occasions; perhaps I could be forgiven for not itemising them all.
"The underlying problem is that Mr Alexander will remain convinced that the bankruptcy order should never have been made because the debt on which the petition was founded was based upon an order for costs which he regards as having been wrong. This is a ground over which the courts have travelled on a number of occasions... and it is not a ground which can be raised on this application."
"We have no hesitation in refusing permission to appeal. This proposed action has all the hallmarks of the time-wasting, vexatious and incompetently-conducted litigation which were the subject of criticism by the Court of Appeal on two occasions last year."
"...the remaining applications for permission to appeal arise from Mr Alexander's determined efforts to procure a stay of execution for the purpose of mounting a critical attack, undermining the original bankruptcy order or the order dismissing his application to annul it. In reality he has a strong sense of grievance that his original proceedings against the defendants were struck out, and the attack on Butterfield J's decision in relation to costs, and the consequent bankruptcy order, provide him with a focus on which to mount his attack. None of the applications for permission to appeal has any merit, and indeed they have become increasingly unreal. The descent into fantasy was illustrated by the application that the skeleton argument should omit the word 'energetic'..."
"59. The courts from the Master to the House of Lords have been inundated with a series of applications by Mr Alexander which have ultimately proved to be ill-founded. Time and again the exercise has been pointless and wasteful of limited court resources and from time to time, has involved the defendants in additional expense. Having seen Mr Alexander on a number of occasions personally, I should record that although he has always treated the court with proper courtesy there is no doubting that the prospect of forensic battle holds no terrors or concerns for him, and that indeed he relishes the cut and thrust of the forensic process.
60. We are entirely satisfied that without an order he will continue to exercise his ingenious and fertile brain to formulate yet further applications to restore this issue to the court."
That led to one of the Grepe v Loam orders.
"...it is overwhelmingly in the public interest that this practice must be stopped. It is clear that the members of this court in the Mensah case regarded him as incompetent. In the Noueiri case he repeatedly took hopeless points and advanced completely futile arguments."
"71. From his conduct of this litigation two conclusions are possible. Either he did not understand procedural rules which are now very well understood by competent litigators or he preferred to turn a blind eye to them (or both). In either event it is in the public interest that his activities should be stopped ...
72. At the hearing before us Mr Alexander appeared to be proud of the fact that he had succeeded in staving off the execution of the warrant of possession for his friend Mr Noueiri by this series of hopeless applications, however much this may have cost the claimants ... or delayed the cases of other more deserving litigants. This is another illustration of the dangers to the administration of justice if unqualified persons, who are not subject to any professional discipline, act as Mr Alexander did in this case."
"...to phraseologically challenge specific words or sentences utilised or highlighted within judgments and orders handed down and made by the Court of Appeal on 26 July 2001, and, 19 September 2001 respectfully."
"It appeared to me in the course of your letter from the premise, as far as I understand it, that you were simply writing in order to make me aware that you intend launching an appeal to the House of Lords, in fact which, as I recall, you made clear at the end of the hearing on 12th February 1998, I have noted the contents of your letter, but I make no comment upon them. It would be quite inappropriate for me to do so and you must proceed as you may be advised". (Quote unchecked)