Brown v Rice and Another: ChD 14 Mar 2007

The parties, the bankrupt and her trustee, had engaged in a mediation which failed at first, but applicant said an agreement was concluded on the day following. The defendants denied this, and the court as asked to determine whether a settlement had occurred, and was now asked whether without prejudice communications made during the mediation could now be admitted.
Held: Mediation was now actively encouraged by the courts, and it required the use in general of the rule against admission of without prejudice statements. However, ‘the admission of those communications in evidence is not prevented by the without prejudice rule since the situation is fairly and squarely within the recognised exception to the rule in respect of such communications listed by Robert Walker LJ in Unilever.’ Admitting that material, the court found that there had been no concluded settlement.
Stuart Isaacs QC J said: ‘The possible existence and desirability of a distinct privilege attaching to the entire mediation process is also usefully discussed in Brown and Marriott ADR Principles and Practice (2nd edition, 1999) at paras 22-079 to 22-097. Counsel for both ADR Group and Mrs Patel accepted, however, that this case could be decided under the existing without prejudice rule. In particular, this was because it was common ground between the parties that the court could not properly require Mr Walker to give evidence and, consistently with clause 7.4 of the agreement to mediate, neither party was intending to issue a witness summons against him. I agree that this case can be decided under the existing without prejudice rule. It may be in the future that the existence of a distinct mediation privilege will require to be considered by either the legislature or the courts but that is not something which arises for decision now.’


Stuart Isaacs QC J


[2007] EWHC 625 (Ch)




Insolvency Act 1986


England and Wales


CitedCutts v Head and Another CA 7-Dec-1983
There had been a trial of 35 days regarding rights of way over land, which had proved fruitless, and where some orders had been made without jurisdiction. The result had been inconclusive. The costs order was now appealed, the plaintiff complaining . .
CitedRush and Tomkins Ltd v Greater London Council HL 3-Nov-1988
The parties had entered into contracts for the construction of dwellings. The contractors sought payment. The council alleged shortcomings in the works. The principal parties had settled the dispute, but a sub-contractor now sought disclosure of the . .
CitedUnilever plc v Procter and Gamble Company CA 4-Nov-1999
The defendant’s negotiators had asserted in an expressly ‘without prejudice’ meeting, that the plaintiff was infringing its patent and they threatened to bring an action for infringement. The plaintiff sought to bring a threat action under section . .
CitedMuller and Another v Linsley and Mortimer (A Firm) CA 8-Dec-1994
The plaintiff sued his former solicitors for professional negligence. The damages he sought to recover related to loss he suffered when dismissed as a director of a private company leading to a forced sale of his shares in the company. The plaintiff . .
CitedHodgkinson and Corby Ltd and Another v Wards Mobility Services Ltd ChD 6-Nov-1996
The claimants brought a claim in passing-off first obtaining an interim injunction but then failing at trial. The defendants then claimed under the undertaking in damages given. The claimants now sought to say that the injunction could have been . .
CitedTalbot v Berkshire County Council CA 23-Mar-1993
In a motor accident, both driver and passenger were injured. The passenger sued the driver. The driver’s insurers, without notice to the driver, made a third party claim against the Berkshire County Council, claiming contribution as between joint . .
CitedFidelitas Shipping Co Ltd v V/O Exportchleb CA 1965
Where there is an award that is on its face an interim award, then the arbitrator is only functus officio with respect to the issues dealt with in that interim award and retains the authority to deal with the remaining matters. Issue estoppel . .
CitedTomlin v Standard Telephones and Cables Ltd CA 1969
Without prejudice material can be admitted if the issue is whether or not the negotiations resulted in an agreed settlement. Without considering the communications in question it would be impossible to decide whether there was a concluded settlement . .
CitedBrisbane City Council v Attorney General for Queensland PC 1978
Lord Wilberforce approved Somervell LJ’s words in Greenhalgh: ‘This is the true basis of the doctrine in Henderson v Henderson and it ought only to be applied when the facts are such as to amount to an abuse: otherwise there is a danger of a party . .
CitedHalsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust etc CA 11-May-2004
The court considered the effect on costs orders of a refusal to take part in alternate dispute resolution procedures. The defendant Trust had refused to take the dispute to a mediation. In neither case had the court ordered or recommended ADR.
CitedAird and Another v Prime Meridian Ltd CA 21-Dec-2006
The court had ordered preparation of a joint statement by the parties expert witnesses with a view to encouraging mediation. The claimant obtained an order that the statement was privileged, and could not be used later in the proceedings.
CitedReed Executive Plc, Reed Solutions Plc v Reed Business Information Ltd, Reed Elsevier (Uk) Ltd, Totaljobs.Com Ltd CA 14-Jul-2004
Walker v Wilshire still Good Law
After successfully appealing, the defendant claimant argued for a substantial part of its costs, saying that the defendant had unreasonably refused ADR. To pursue this, it now sought disclosure of the details of the without prejudice negotiations . .
CitedMcTaggart v McTaggart 1948
Evidence was admitted from a probation officer who had been present at a without prejudice interview between a divorcing couple.
Held: This was only possible because the wife had not objected to the husband giving evidence as to what . .
CitedD v National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children HL 2-Feb-1977
Immunity from disclosure of their identity should be given to those who gave information about neglect or ill treatment of children to a local authority or the NSPCC similar to that which the law allowed to police informers.
Lord Simon of . .
CitedSavings and Investment Bank Ltd (In Liquidation) v Fincken CA 14-Nov-2003
Parties to litigation had made without prejudice disclosures. One party sought to give evidence contradicting the dsclosure, and the other now applied for leave to amend based upon the without prejudice statements to be admitted to demonstrate the . .
CitedSavings and Investment Bank Ltd (in Liquidation) v Fincken CA 6-Nov-2001
When the court was asked to decide whether a proposed form of amendment to the pleadings would add an issue which was out of time, the court must look to the pleadings before and after the proposed amendment, and the factual issues which would have . .
CitedVenture Investment Placement Ltd v Hall 2005
The parties agreed to mediate their dispute. The agreement contained a confidentiality clause. The court granted an interlocutory injunction to prevent disclosure of matters within the mediation. . .
CitedCheddar Valley Engineering Ltd v Chaddlewood Homes Ltd ChD 15-Jul-1992
Without Prejudice negotiations continue on that basis till clearly altered. . .
CitedSampson v John Boddy Timber Ltd CA 17-May-1995
A barrister should not liable for wasted costs when he pursues arguable point for his client. Unless a party makes plain its intention that a settlement offer is made on an open basis, it remains covered by the cloak of the without prejudice rule . .

Cited by:

CitedFarm Assist Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (No 2) TCC 19-May-2009
The mediator who had acted in attempting to resolve the dispute between the parties sought to have set aside a witness summons issued by the claimant who sought to have the mediated agreement set aside for economic duress.
Held: In this case . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Arbitration

Updated: 25 July 2022; Ref: scu.251536