C/2001/1612, C/2001/1612/A & C/2001/1612/B
Neutral Citation Number:  EWCA Civ 1981
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE
ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT
QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION
(ADMINISTRATIVE COURT LIST)
The Royal Courts of Justice
Tuesday 4 December 2001
LORD JUSTICE SIMON BROWN
Vice President of the Court of Appeal, Civil Division
LORD JUSTICE HENRY
HM ATTORNEY GENERAL
Transcript prepared from the Steno Notes
of Smith Bernal Reporting Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2HD
Tel: 0207 404 1400
The Applicant appeared by video link on his own behalf
The Respondent did not appear and was not represented
(As approved by the Court)
Tuesday 4 December 2001
1. LORD JUSTICE HENRY: This is an application for permission to appeal, on the papers, a decision of the Divisional Court dated 20 June 2001 granting vexatious litigant order under section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 against the applicant.
2. The applicant is currently serving a life sentence. He has been convicted and imprisoned and with his life sentence there is a recommendation of a twelve-year relevant period in relation to count 1 of the indictment on which he was convicted. During his time in prison he has brought a number of vexatious claims in the space of a year that are essentially concerned with his treatment whilst in prison. He has also brought claims concerning the conduct of solicitors. He has involved the Home Office and the Treasury Solicitors in these proceedings, claiming racial discrimination. Each of the proceedings that the court had regard to are listed in the full judgment of the court given by Latham LJ and Forbes J on 20 June 2001, and those individual actions are listed and summarised there in paragraphs 7-17. On the basis of those actions a Civil Proceedings Order under section 42 of the Supreme Court Act was made against him.
3. We have looked at that judgment carefully to see if there are any grounds that would justify giving permission to appeal. It seemed to us before we came to this hearing that there were no such grounds. When the hearing was called on we gave Mr Edwards the opportunity of seeking to put any further grounds before us in relation to those findings. He raised one point in relation to an action in the Leeds County Court which my Lord has dealt with and he has explained to Mr Edwards what the position is. Looking at the judgment, it is clear that this was a strong case against a vexatious litigant, involving persistent and habitual litigation which needs the control of the High Court to keep it within bounds.
4. In his grounds of appeal, Mr Edwards makes the point - and it is a point which deserves consideration - that it is a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights for the court to regulate its own process by restricting vexatious litigants’ access to the courts. We have considered that. We have looked at the process under the law of England and Wales and at the Act of Parliament that justifies it, and we are satisfied that there is nothing in the vexatious litigant procedure here which offends against the Convention On Human Rights. If at any time Mr Edwards has a proper cause of action, with some chance of success, then he is permitted to apply to the High Court for permission to bring that action, and if he is granted permission then he is allowed to litigate. If he is not granted permission then, no appeal lies against that. But we are satisfied that there was no fault or flaw in those proceedings which resulted in the order being made against him.
5. Therefore, for those reasons, I for my part would dismiss his application for permission to appeal, on the grounds that that application would be doomed to inevitable failure.
6. LORD JUSTICE SIMON BROWN: I agree and there is nothing I can usefully add.
ORDER: Application refused
Attorney General v Edwards (1)
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