THE BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS IN MANCHESTER
CIRCUIT COMMERCIAL COURT (QBD)
1 Bridge Street West
Manchester M60 9DJ
B e f o r e :
(sitting as a Judge of the High Court)
| RIAZ AHMAD
|- and -
|1) CLIVE GRAHAM WOOD
2) CLIVE G WOOD & CO (A FIRM)
Miss. Siân Mirchandani (instructed by Mills & Reeve LLP) for the Defendants
Hearing dates: 26th March 2018
Crown Copyright ©
HH Judge Eyre QC:
The Matrimonial Proceedings and the Claim now made by the Claimant.
"…When giving his evidence [the Claimant] was evasive [and] argumentative. His evidence was inconsistent and contradictory and sometimes simply improbable and, at other times, incoherent. His litigation conduct was consistent with a litigant who wished to hide his assets, to obfuscate and attempt to confuse. In terms of his relationship with Mrs. Riaz the impression that I informed (sic) of [the Claimant] was that he is, frankly, a bully seeking to control or dominate Mrs. Riaz…."
"33 (i) They contributed to an erroneous impression in the mind of District Judge Khan that the Claimant was dishonest, obstructive, obfuscating, attempting to confuse and hiding assets.
"33 (ii) They caused District Judge Khan to arrive at factual conclusions in the judgment that were at odds with the documentary evidence before him, particularly in finding that the Claimant had had a surplus rental income in the region of £142,325.17
"33 (iii) They caused District Judge Khan to arrive at factual conclusions that were at odds with the actual position as follows [the Claimant then sets out seven respects in which he says that the District Judge's factual conclusions differed from the position which would have been shown if fuller material had been put before him. These include the contention that it could have been shown that there had not been a surplus of rental income over mortgage liabilities in the period leading up to 2010]."
The Defendants' Application.
Abuse of Process.
"the claimant cannot establish that his adviser's drafting of the agreements was negligent without challenging the judge's findings as to credibility and fact. To make good the allegations of negligence, Mr Laing must show that his account of the agreements is the truth. He must demonstrate that [the earlier judge]'s judgment of his credibility was wrong."
The Pleading of the Claimant's Case against the separate Defendants.
The Measure of Damages.
"40 However, where the court holds that there is a defect in a pleading, it is normal for the court to refrain from striking out that pleading unless the court has given the party concerned an opportunity of putting right the defect, provided that there is reason to believe that he will be in a position to put the defect right. In para 19 of his Judgment the Master recorded that the Claimant had informed him that he already had witnesses. On 17 January 2011 the Claimant demonstrated that that was not wishful thinking, or a bluff, by submitting the statements that he did submit.
41 In those circumstances I conclude that it was wrong in principle for the Master to strike out the claim without giving the Claimant an opportunity of rectifying the defect in his case. Accordingly, this appeal will be allowed."