Courtman v Ludlam and Another; In re Ludlam (Bankrupts): ChD 6 Aug 2009

The applicant trustee in bankruptcy sought an extended civil restraint order against the respondents, saying that they had made unmeritorious claims in the proceedings.
Held: The rules required there to be shown that person had ‘persistently issued claims or made applications which are totally without merit’. The court must respond to such behaviour in a proportionate and graduated way. The statutory scheme must have a higher precondition threshold than a limited or general order. ‘Persistence’ in this context must mean a bare minimum of three such applications. Without substituting his own opinion for that of he judge who had heard previous cases, the court was entitled to look at the cases instanced as unmeritorious.
The most important factor in the exercise of the discretion is the ‘threat level’ of continued issue of wholly unmeritorious claims or applications: ‘will the litigant, now, continue with an irrational refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer’


Bartley Jones QC


[2009] EWHC 2067 (Ch), Times 26-Oct-2009, [2010] BPIR 98




Civil Procedure Rules 83


England and Wales


CitedGrepe v Loam; Bulteel v Grepe CA 1887
The court was asked for an order restricting the right of a group of litigants be restrained from beginning further court actions without first obtaining the court’s consent, they having been accused of issuing vexatious proceedings.
Held: The . .
CitedSupperstone v Hurst and Another ChD 8-Jun-2009
The making of three wholly unmeritorious claims or applications were sufficient to support an application for a civil restraint order against the respondent. . .
CitedKumar, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs CA 13-Jul-2006
The scheme of Civil Restraint Orders faithfully reproduced the scheme set out in Bhamjee. The statutory CRO regime it was sufficient that the previous claims or applications were totally without merit, and that the litigant persisted in making them. . .
CitedEbert v Venvill (Trustee In Bankruptcy); Woolf; Midland Bank Plc and Rabinowicz (a Solicitor) CA 5-Jul-1999
The court refused leave to appeal from the High Court. It would be absurd if, when an order was made restricting commencement of proceedings by a vexatious litigant, that the High Court should not have power to restrain by the same order also . .
CitedBhamjee v Forsdick and Others (No 2) CA 25-Jul-2003
The Court set out the range of remedies available to protect court processes from abuse by litigants who persist in making applications totally devoid of merit. The courts are facing very serious contemporary problems created by the activities of . .
CitedHM Attorney-General v Ebert Admn 21-Sep-2001
The defendant had instituted over 80 fruitless actions over years. He had been made subject to a vexatious litigant order, but the Attorney General now requested additional injunctive relief. This was a very extreme instance of extreme litigation. . .
CitedThakerar v Lynch Hall and Hornby (a Firm) ChD 21-Oct-2005
An order was sought to declare the claimant to be a vexatious litigant. The respondent answered that some of her applications had succeeded.
Held: It was not necessary to show that all applications by the claimant had been without merit. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 04 October 2022; Ref: scu.375955