Neutral Citation No:  NICA 15
Judgment: approved by the Court for handing down
(subject to editorial corrections)*
STEPHENS LJ (delivering the judgment of the court)
"provide further particulars of any defence and/or counterclaim to include any/all evidence that he intends to rely upon to substantiate (prove) the many extremely serious statements and claims/allegations he made in his written statement submitted to the Court dated September 16th 2015, which he repeated and relied upon in his later (related) testimony in the Magistrates Court on March 24th 2017." (emphasis added)
After that introductory paragraph the technique adopted by the appellant was to extract 54 allegations made by Brian Murphy in his statement dated 16 September 2015 setting out all of those allegations in the notice. Instances of those allegations are:
(a) "My brother (Paul) has a serious mental health problem."
(b) Another brother Eugene "also suffers from mental health difficulties."
(c) "He (Paul) has no compunction about telling lies or doing anything else to get his way."
The notice then concludes with the following paragraph:
"For each of the 54 specific statements and claims/allegations listed above, I require the respondent to provide evidence (documents, photographs, maps or other) to substantiate/justify (prove) each specific statement and claim/allegation made and to identify/confirm the source of that evidence." (emphasis added).
(a) Brian Murphy has not brought any counterclaim and indeed there is no provision enabling him to do so.
(b) If particulars are to be given by Brian Murphy of his defence then those particulars are restricted to a statement in summary form of the material facts on which he relies for his defence, but not the evidence by which those facts are to be proved. On that basis even if the Judge had jurisdiction to order particulars that jurisdiction did not extend to ordering Brian Murphy to set out the evidence upon which he relied.
(c) The written statement dated 16 September 2015 was the statement in support of Brian Murphy's application for a non-molestation order against the appellant in the Domestic Proceedings Court. On 24 March 2017 Brian Murphy's application was dismissed and he did not appeal from the Domestic Proceedings Court to the County Court. The proceedings brought by Brian Murphy have concluded. Furthermore, the statement was not filed in the Domestic Proceedings Court in opposition to the application for a non-molestation order made by the appellant and the statement does not form part of the documents in relation to the appellant's appeal to the county court. Accordingly it is not a document which has been filed or submitted by Brian Murphy either in the Domestic Proceedings Court or in the County Court in opposition to or in defence of the application by the appellant for a non-molestation order. However the appellant contends that whatever the procedural position is Brian Murphy contests his application for a non-molestation order on the basis set out in the statement which is that the appellant is a manipulative liar who is in fact molesting Brian Murphy. On that basis the appellant contends that the statement is relevant to his application for a non-molestation order.
(d) The notice is not legally recognisable as a notice for particulars and if drafted by a lawyer no order would be made in relation to it. However a degree of latitude should be allowed to litigants in persons dealing with the complexities of cases, see Boylan-Toomey v Boylan-Toomey  NIFam 15 at paragraph . The exact degree of latitude will depend on the circumstances of each individual case, including the judge's assessment of the capabilities of the litigant in person. In our estimation the appellant is quite capable of drafting a notice for particulars.
The test in relation to an application to state a case
"Where (the justices form an opinion that an application is frivolous) it would be very helpful to indicate, however briefly, why they form the opinion. A blunt and unexplained refusal, as in this case, may well leave an applicant entirely uncertain as to why the Justices regard an application as futile, misconceived, hopeless or academic. Such uncertainty is liable to lead to unnecessary litigation and expenditure on costs."
We consider that ordinarily brief reasons should be given when refusing an application to state a case for the opinion of the Court of Appeal.
Legislative and procedural framework