Royal Courts of Justice


London WC2

Thursday, 10th April 1997

B e f o r e:




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ex parte Tejendrasingh

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(Computer-aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of

Smith Bernal Reporting Limited, 180 Fleet Street,

London EC4A 2HD

Telephone No: 0171 831-3183

Fax No: 071 831-8838

Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)

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MR I ASHFORD-THOM (instructed by The Treasury Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the Applicant.

The Respondent appeared in person


(As Approved)

Crown copyright

Wednesday, 9th April 1997

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: This is an application of the Attorney General dated 22nd November 1996 for a civil proceedings order against the Respondent under section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981. It is made on the ground that the Respondent has, it is alleged, habitually and persistently and without reasonable ground instituted vexatious civil proceedings and made vexatious applications in civil proceedings.

The initial litigation was as follows: the Respondent has a brother called Lt Col Kawarindasingh. It appears that he agreed to buy an alsatian puppy from a Mr White. He handed over the £1,000 for the dog, but no dog was ever delivered. After some delay his £1,000 was given back but without any interest. The Respondent then started proceedings on his brother’s behalf, the brother living in India. In these proceedings he claimed interest on the £1,000 plus a claim for loss of profits and costs.

Initially, he was represented by Ginn and Co Solicitors, then the Respondent represented himself, and finally he was represented by another firm of solicitors called Metsons.

The action was stayed in August 1989 on terms that the Respondent was barred from representing his brother, the action had to be placed into the hands of another firm of solicitors and that certain costs orders in Mr White’s favour had to be met before the stay could be lifted.

The next litigation was stated by a summons issued in the Cambridge County Court on 20th April 1990. There was an action for professional negligence against the firm of solicitors we have already mentioned, Metsons, concerning the original action.

The matter came before Judge Mellor QC and he concluded that the Respondent should succeed in at least part of the claim, although he was ordered to pay the costs of Metsons, because the amount he was awarded was less than the amount they had paid into court.

It is not contended that the institution of these proceedings was vexatious. However, there were a great number of applications made in the course of the proceedings, which Judge Mellor referred to as “an avalanche of applications by the plaintiff, some well-founded, some pettifogging and some totally misconceived.” Most of these applications were dismissed. The number and type of these applications caused Judge Mellor to make an order on 28th April 1993 barring the Respondent from making any further applications in the matter without leave of the court. In fact, on 19th November 1993, Judge Mellor heard 17 such applications together, the great majority of which he refused.

In the course of his judgment he commented that there was a common theme to all the applications:

“To overturn or to manoeuvre round interlocutory and other decisions... which the Respondent regards as unfavourable.

On occasions his attempts have had a figleaf of relevance... but the twin aims have been to reverse adverse orders for costs and avoid the outcome of the action which has resulted in the Respondent facing a very heavy burden in costs.”

The judge barred the Respondent from making any further applications, save in relation to taxation or enforcement of costs and thereby replacing his earlier barring order.

It seems to us that the judge was well justified in making the order that he did. Metsons were awarded the trial costs in respect of which there was a statutory demand for over £17,000. This demand was served upon the Respondent but he failed to pay them. He applied to have the statutory demand set aside. This was refused by His Honour Judge Sherrin on 18th June 1993. On that occasion, the Respondent made applications which were refused for the committal for contempt of a Mr Alan Dixon, senior partner of Metsons, and of Nicola Tassell, a solicitor with Messrs Mills and Reeve, who were solicitors acting for Metsons.

Next we turn to litigation concerning a firm called Ginn and Co and Clive Lane who was a partner in that firm. The writ was issued on 8th December 1992 from Cambridge District Registry. In the course of discovery, in the Metson action, two particular documents were disclosed by Mr White’s solicitors, who were called Tinn Thimbleby, and both these documents were attendance notes prepared by Miss Pickwell an assistant solicitor with Tinn Thimbleby. One was dated 24th February and the other 2nd March both in 1987. Both contained material which the Respondent found offensive and which were to form the basis of subsequent litigation.

Looking at that, there was first a claim for slander in relation to the first Pickwell file note. This reported a conversation between Miss Pickwell and Mr Lane, to whom we have already referred, the partner of Ginn and Co, who were then acting for the Respondent in relation to the original litigation.

In this conversation, as noted by Miss Pickwell, Mr Lane was alleged to have made slanderous comments about the Respondent to Miss Pickwell. On 7th May 1993 at the hearing of an application to strike out the claim, the Respondent sought to rely on the file notes made by Miss Pickwell. Deputy Judge Blomfield struck out the proceedings and upheld the argument that the document relied upon could not properly be used under the rule in Riddick v Thames Board Mills Ltd [1977]

1 QB 881. The Deputy judge said, that even if that document could be used, he would in any event have taken the view that the statement of claim should be struck out as disclosing no reasonable cause.

The Respondent appealed this decision to Mr Justice Drake. He heard the matter on 25th October 1993 and refused to vary the order made by the court below.

Dealing with the statement of claim in the case, Mr Justice Drake said:

“the pleading contains a great deal of irrelevant matter and highly prejudicial allegations.”

He held it to be defective and refused leave.

In the course of his judgment, Mr Justice Drake said:

“The actions are not a reasonable exercise of his rights. The time and the expense spent in such actions is very large indeed and the plaintiff’s pleadings and his conduct of the litigations adds to the time and expense... the Court has a duty to protect such litigants’ opponents from being oppressed.”

The statutory claim was held to be oppressive and embarrassing to the defendants, and the judge ordered the action to be struck out as being vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court.

On 20th May 1994, the Court of Appeal refused leave to the Respondent to appeal against Mr Justice Drake’s order. Sitting were Lady Justice Butler-Sloss and Sir Michael Kerr, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal. Lady Justice Butler-Sloss stressed the waste of time and money of the Respondents and the time of the Court and proceeded to make an order barring the Respondent from making any other applications in the cases under consideration by them without leave of the Court of Appeal.

At the same hearing, Sir Michael Kerr, in his judgment, warned the Respondent of the possibility that if he continued as he had been going, an application would be made to have him made a vexatious litigant.

There was then an action by the Respondent against Ginn and Co, claiming damages on behalf of the Respondent’s brother for negligence in the action against Metsons. The particulars of claim claim that the Pickwell file note of 25th February 1987 was

“a violation of professional relationship, factually wrong, and setting the context to encourage the worst possible impression of [the respondent].”

In another action there was an application to strike that out before Deputy Judge Blomfield, but the Respondent resisted that, saying he wanted to join his brother as a party in the action. He also wanted an order allowing Miss Pickwell’s two attendance notes to be available to him “free of all restrictions”. These applications came before Judge Sherrin on 16th and 18th January 1993. He refused the first application as he was not satisfied that the Lt Colonel had, in fact, signified his wish to become a co-plaintiff, but even if he had, any action in relation to conduct of Ginn and Co., at the hearing in 1987 or thereafter would be statute-barred. Also the application for release of the Pickwell notes was refused on the authority of the Riddick case to which we have already referred. The judge awarded costs to the defendant saying:

“There is a calculated campaign here by the Plaintiff to issue any number of proceedings arising out of the same point.”

The Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeal, but once again did not succeed.

There was next an action against Miss Pickwell herself, that case went to the Court of Appeal and was disposed of with the others by Lady Justice Butler-Sloss and Sir Michael Kerr.

Next there was an action by the Respondent against Christie, Butcher, McBride Wilson and Co and Chadwyck-Healy and Pickwell. This was an action for libel relying on the same Pickwell attendance notes. Once again, the Respondent was not satisfied with the order he received and appealed to a High Court judge,

Mr Justice Otton, as he then was, who held that the proceedings were irregular having been issued out of time without leave as required by section 32A of the Limitation Act 1980. He also held that the Respondent’s attempt to use Miss Pickwell’s file note for a purpose other than in the action in which it was disclosed was an abuse of the process of the court.

The next action, to which we must refer, has no connection with any of the others we have so far noted. This action was against Dr Janet Thompson and the Home Office. The summons was issued at the Cambridge County Court on 11th February 1994. It was a claim for negligence against Janet Thompson, the Director General of the Forensic Science Service, which is an agency of the Home Office. It concerned two documents relating to an action which the Respondent was fighting against Lishers in the Cambridge County Court. It appears that he had had a part-time job with Lishers, it was ended and he sued them. He claimed that they had sought to use in the proceedings two invoices which they had tampered with, and he wanted these documents to go to Dr Janet Thompson so she could produce evidence which he hoped would support his suggestion that the invoices had been tampered with.

The Home Office was eventually substituted for

Dr Thomspon. The action followed the familiar pattern with the Respondent of protracted litigation, much correspondence and numerous interlocutory applications. It seems to have eventually come to an end because the Respondent was declared bankrupt and does not appear to have been able to persuade his Trustee in Bankruptcy to continue with the proceedings.

He tried to appeal against the bankruptcy order, but he told us that he had failed in that endeavour.

The next action, we must refer to, is again wholly unconnected with all the foregoing. This was an action against The Times Literary Supplement Limited. It was issued by the Cambridge County Court on 3rd May 1996. It appears that the Respondent had written a book called “The Creation of the World” and he wanted an advertisement for it to appear in The Times Literary Supplement. It did in fact appear on 29th September 1995. His claim in the action against them was for messing up his advertisement. They denied in the action that they had messed it up, they said, in fact, they had submitted a copy of what the advertisement was going to be to his agent, and that the agent had accepted it. They offered to make the Respondent a small payment as a gesture of goodwill. Despite that, he would not accept it and continued with the action.

The Respondent says to us that he is justified in having done that because they had messed up not only his advertisement, but all his arrangements.

It was alleged that he had failed to particularise his claim and on 13th June 1996, yet another district judge, this one called Judge Temple, ordered that he should deliver particulars. He appealed to His Honour Judge Bromley QC, but without success. The judge ordered that the district judge’s order be complied with within 14 days or the action would be struck out.

The Respondent failed to comply with the district judge’s order but instead applied to Judge Bromley to set aside his order alleging as follows:

“Temple has a history of incompetence imbecile arguments and decisions in advance - showing clear hostility and spite against me - I have already made application elsewhere that he is ‘stupid incompetent and corrupt - and guilty of prejudice abuse racism and lies - Temple is a judicial scandal.’”

This failed to persuade Judge Bromley who dismissed the application to rescind his order of 19th July 1996 and refused leave to appeal.

Before us, the Respondent argued that Judge Bromley was antagonistic to him from the beginning. His treatment by Judge Bromley was a disgrace. From the beginning, Judge Bromley abused him. He said the blame for all the hearings lay not on himself but Judge Bromley. He himself was quite content to have the matters disposed of in correspondence but he said,“Judge Bromley loves hearings” and caused them to take place in his case.

That leaves one action that we must refer to. There are a number of defendants to that action and we must set them out. They are, the Lord Chancellor of England. The Attorney General. Sir Thomas Bingham, now the Lord Chief Justice. Lord Justice Russell, who is a retired Lord Justice of Appeal. Lady Justice Butler-Sloss. Sir Michael Kerr, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal. J.G.R. Adams who is, in fact, the Registrar of Civil Appeals. Ian Joseph and Alexandra Millbrook who are staff in the Civil Appeals Office.

The action alleges that it is a claim “for damages for conspiracy, corruption, sabotage, maladministration, racism, abuse in connection with the Butler-Sloss hearing of 20th May 1994 - and for the consequences - including bankruptcy”

The Respondent before us expanded a little on that to explain exactly what the basis of the action is. He says it is because he has been shown extreme hostility by those who run Civil Appeals. It all goes back, he says, to some criminal matter he was concerned with in the past and a man who then worked in criminal appeals, but who has more recently moved to Civil Appeals, behaved very badly and has had it in for him ever since.

He claims that Civil Appeals determined to put a restriction on him such as Lady Justice Butler-Sloss and Sir Michael Kerr in fact imposed. Normally, he said, it is for the litigant and not the other side to ask for a restriction order of that nature but it did not happen in this case he said because, in fact, it was the Civil Appeals Department that was putting her up to it.

It was done behind the scenes, they asked for it and she granted it because they had asked for it.

The Respondent said, that Lady Justice Butler-Sloss’s judgment was a disgrace. Sir Micheal Kerr had only come in at the last minute, he was supposed to be appearing before Lord Justice Russell as he then was. The Respondent said:

“I was only seeking leave to appeal, what did I get? I got foisted upon me a restriction order not to bring any applications within those proceedings without leave to the Court of Appeal.”

Now we have duly heard the Respondent in regard to all these actions, he began his submissions to us by saying that Mr Ashford-Thom, for the Attorney General, had got it all wrong in his opening and his application was all nonsense. This did seem a little hard on Mr Ashford-Thom, who had been particularly kind to the Respondent who said he could not hear and was not prepared to use the hearing assistance provided by the court and, in consequence, Mr Ashford-Thom performed a very valuable service, at least so far as the court was concerned, by passing on our observations to the Respondent, and the Respondent’s observations to us.

However, we do not think it was meant personally against Mr Ashford-Thom, it is merely a measure of the Respondent’s tone and quality in the presentation of his case and indeed of all the other cases along the way. Amongst other things, the Respondent said that any judge who had ever dealt with his actions and applications had been corrupt and incompetent. He said he had been obliged to make so many applications because of all the lies that were told by the other parties to the various actions and applications, so they were liars, and every single judge dealing with his matters was corrupt and incompetent.

Our difficulty was to get the Respondent to understand that we were not sitting to hear appeals by the Respondent in any of these other actions, we were here only to consider an application by the Attorney General to have him made a vexatious litigant and to stop him bringing actions or proceedings in civil courts.

As we have already seen his particular complaint against judges, is levelled against Lady Justice Butler-Sloss sitting with Sir Michael Kerr and hearing the appeals in the various libel actions from Mr Justice Drake and others.

One particular matter in relation to that decision, of which he is very critical, is that he says he had to wait 20 months for an answer to his application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords, and when the answer came refusing him, it offered no reasons. It was not clear to us whether his complaint in this respect is levelled at the Court of Appeal or the House of Lords.

The Respondent next turned his fire on Parliament for passing section 42 in the form it is. In the first place, he complains that it violates the European Convention on Human Rights. We do not accept that it does, but if it did, that does not make it invalid.

Secondly, he complains that the section does not give the judges a discretion. That complaint is simply not accurate. We turn to look at section 42(1) of the Supreme Court Act 1981 so far as is relevant, it reads:

“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; or

the court may, after hearing that person or giving him an opportunity of being heard, make a civil proceedings order......”

This Court has given the Respondent the opportunity of being heard, but it is not obliged by the section to make an order. What the section is saying is, if the Court is satisfied that the actions and the applications are vexatious, the Court may make an order. So plainly, this Court has a discretion.

Next, the Respondent claimed that he had been put in double jeopardy by the present application, as Lady Justice Butler-Sloss had already restrained him from making further applications without leave of the court. There is, however, no force in that point, because her restriction order was limited to applications in respect of the proceedings before her Court. Here we are concerned with an application in respect of any civil proceedings and any applications in any civil proceedings, those that she covered, as well as those she did not cover. There was nothing in that point.

Finally, he argued that the actions relied on by the Attorney General should all be ignored by this Court when considering whether to make the order prayed, because he says, none of those actions has yet been concluded and, until they are all concluded, it is not right for any court to say that he had been instituting those proceedings unreasonably.

The point has far more sense in it than his other points, but we reject it. The Attorney General and this Court does not have to wait until the actions have concluded before considering an application of this nature or before making an order of this nature.

Looking through all the proceedings he has brought, we find that he has brought numerous vexatious actions and made numerous vexatious applications since at least 1990. Those proceedings have often been struck out and, on occasion, been made the subject of barring orders. Normally, there is the sanction of an order for costs which prevents vexatious actions and applications being brought. Some people, however, and in our judgment the Respondent is one of those, upon whom the sanction of costs has no effect, because on he goes, he never pays the costs, very likely never will and for all we know he is unable to since he has been made bankrupt. It is very hard luck on the people he chooses to sue as they have to pick up the bill for these actions. We have to have regard to them. We have to have regard to the general public interest, because that requires that he does not take up the time of the court which could be well spent on considering proper and sensible actions and applications.

Mr Ashford-Thom drew our attention to the case of In Re Vernazza [1960] 1 QB 197 and first of all to the judgment of Lord Parker, Chief Justice, in the Divisional Court, and then the judgments of the Court of Appeal, and in particular, the judgment of Lord Justice Ormrod. We have also had regard to the judgment of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith in the Court of Appeal the case of Attorney General v Jones [1990] 1 WLR 859. We have followed the guidance of that court, namely that one does not look just at the individual action or application in making one’s mind up, one has to look at the whole history of the matter, and that we have done. One also has to take a broad brush approach and not just simply look at an individual action or application. Again we have followed that.

Having done so, we are completely satisfied that the Respondent has brought numerous vexatious actions and made numerous vexatious applications since at least 1990. We are also satisfied, as we have said, that cost orders do not deter him. In the legitimate interest of those against whom he litigates and in the interests of the public, we have come to a conclusion that those matters require that he should no longer be able to take proceedings or make applications in proceedings without leave of the court.

Hence, we consider it right and appropriate in the due exercise of our discretion to make the order which has been sought herein by the Attorney General, and we do so make that order.

MR ASHFORD-THOM: I am grateful, my Lords, I have no further application.

THE RESPONDENT: What is the decision?

MR ASHFORD-THOM: To make the order sought.

THE RESPONDENT: Can I make some applications here and raise a few points? First, I gather I need leave to appeal, so I make an application for leave to appeal first.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: We refuse that.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

THE RESPONDENT: I assumed that would happen, but can I have a copy of the transcript of your judgment because I have not heard it. It is generally given to me on that basis.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: What we have said in our judgment will come back to us for correction, and after that you will be entitled to have a copy.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan had said)

THE RESPONDENT: Thank you. The next point is that as I have not heard the judgment, and I will not know what it is until I get the transcript, I get an extension of time for appealing, 28 days to begin from the day I receive the transcript, the normal order, as I cannot do anything in the meantime.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: We have not given you leave, if you want an extension of time for appealing you must go to the Court of Appeal.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan had said)

THE RESPONDENT: They will not give me an extension of time. The next. I was told I could raise a few points connected with my current actions. Do you agree with what I said before, that anything within arbitration limits can proceed without leave?

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: Mr Ashford-Thom, that is not right; is it?

MR ASHFORD-THOM: No, I believe it is not right, because the order covers the continuance of proceedings.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent the discussion between Lord Justice McCowan and himself)

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: We take the view it covers the bodies you are referring to.

THE RESPONDENT: It covers everything. The next point I would like to make is in connection with one action I have.


THE RESPONDENT: It is in a special position and that is why I wish to raise it here. As I told you, I had three solicitors in the Peterborough action and this is the third one, I started the action earlier this year, and he did not put in a defence. I have interlocutory judgment. Since I’ve already got interlocutory judgment, he decided subsequently that he would put in a defence, it is a very bad defence. There is an affidavit asking for it to be set aside. At the same time, I’ve got an application for damages. What happens then if I already have it?

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: You will have to get leave from the court to proceed with that action at all.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

THE RESPONDENT: I have to get leave from the High Court, it comes under section 46. Even if I’ve got judgment----

MR ASHFORD-THOM: It is my understanding that leave has to be applied for to the High Court under section 42(3), leave to institute or continue or make any application in civil proceedings.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: Yes, we accept that.

THE RESPONDENT: If I have to carry on making applications to the High Court, I am not sure what the procedure is?

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: We are not going to tell you, I am afraid, it is not our job to tell you what the procedure is. We have dealt with the application.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

THE RESPONDENT: But can I make the applications in Cambridge to a judge in Cambridge, sitting as a High Court judge, instead of coming all the way to London----

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: Mr Ashford-Thom, what is he asking?

Is he asking, can he make the application to someone sitting as a deputy? Is that what he asked?

MR ASHFORD-THOM: Yes, my Lord. I am afraid I do not know the answer to that without checking. I believe it is customary that they are made to a High Court Judge, but I am not sure whether the normal practice or procedure is that they are made to other judges----

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: In any event, it is for the office to decide which case comes before which court, so what we say is of no relevance on that score.


(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

THE RESPONDENT: They cannot answer that.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: It is for the office to decide who hears your case.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: It is for them to decide whether he is heard by a Deputy High Court Judge or not.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

THE RESPONDENT: Another point is, as I have said, I have a hearing tomorrow, what happens to that hearing? Do I proceed with it or do you allow it or what? It is a small arbitration.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: Our position in the matter is we cannot deal with any such application. If you want to proceed with your action tomorrow, you have to get the leave of a High Court judge and not from us.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: Otherwise, when you get there tomorrow they should not allow you to take any part in it, since this order is already in existence.

(Mr Ashford-Thom then conveyed to the Respondent what Lord Justice McCowan said)

THE RESPONDENT: If I cannot take part, any part in the application, what happens to the hearing? The hearing can’t proceed can it?

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: We have given you quite enough guidance, we are not saying anymore----

THE RESPONDENT: They are going to Cambridge, they are a London firm, if they go up to Cambridge they are going to waste all their time.

LORD JUSTICE McCOWAN: You can always ring them and tell them you are not proceeding because you are barred from doing so. We have spent enough time in dealing with all these further questions.

Attorney General v Tejendrasingh (Court of Appeal)
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