Ashmore and Others v Corporation of Lloyds: HL 13 May 1992

A Judge’s interlocutory order for the trial of a preliminary point could be set aside only if it was clearly wrong: ‘In my opinion, when a judge alive to the possible consequences decides that a particular course should be followed in the conduct of the trial in the interests of justice, his decision should be respected by the parties and upheld by an appellate court unless there are very good grounds for thinking that the judge was plainly wrong.’ and ‘Litigants are not entitled to the uncontrolled use of a trial Judge’s time. Other litigants await their turn. Litigants are only entitled to so much of the trial Judge’s time as is necessary for the proper determination of the relevant issues.’
There is an overriding duty on lawyers to assist in the prompt and economical disposal of litigation.
Lord Templeman referred to previous case where he had ‘warned against proceedings in which all or some of the litigants indulge in over-elaboration causing difficulties to judges at all levels in the achievement of a just result. He also said that the appellate court should be reluctant to entertain complaints about a judge who controls the conduct of proceedings and limits the time and scope of evidence and argument. So too, where a judge, for reasons which are not plainly wrong, makes an interlocutory decision or makes a decision in the course of a trial the decision should be respected by the parties and if not respected should be upheld by an appellate court unless the judge was plainly wrong . . An expectation that the trial would proceed to a conclusion upon the evidence [that the party wishing to call are sought] to be adduced is not a legitimate expectation. The only legitimate expectation of any plaintiff to receive justice. Justice can only be achieved by assisting the judge and accepting his rulings.’


Lord Templeman, Lord Roskill


Gazette 13-May-1992, [1992] 2 All ER 486, [1992] 1 WLR 446, [1992] 2 Lloyds Rep 1

Cited by:

CitedNoorani v Merseyside TEC Limited CA 19-Oct-1998
The claimant had claimed race discrimination. The tribunal declined to order the issue of witness summonses. The EAT overturned that decision on the basis that the tribunal had not recognised that it had a discretion to issue the summonses, and had . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Legal Professions

Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.77897