Fawdry and Co (A Firm) v Murfitt: CA 14 May 2002

The judge at first instance who was ticketed to sit as a judge in the Technology and Construction Court, had been asked to sit as a judge of the High Court to take this case. The appellant said she was acting outside her powers.
Held: The court considered the comon law doctrine of de facto officers. She was in fact not a judge of the High Court but had acted in good faith, and the parties had accepted her jurisdiction. The parties had received a fair trial before a lawfully constituted tribunal.


Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Sedley And Lady Justice Hale


[2002] EWCA Civ 643, [2003] QB 104




European Convention on Human Rights 6(1)


England and Wales


CitedAdams v Adams 1971
Despite the lack of modern English authority applying the doctrine, it was still part of the English common law, that the acts of a de facto officer were validated. The de facto officer must have some basis for his assumption of office, variously . .
CitedPfeifer And Plankl v Austria ECHR 25-Feb-1992
Two of the judges who had acted in Mr Pfeifer’s case also presided at his trial, despite a clear provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure disqualifying them. The Commission dealt with whether the court was ‘established by law’ separately from . .
CitedCurtin v Barton 1893
(New York) ‘When a court with competent jurisdiction is duly established, a suitor who resorts to it for the administration of justice and the protection of private rights should not be defeated or embarrassed by questions relating to the title of . .

Cited by:

CitedCoppard v The Commissioners of Customs and Excise, Lord Chancellor intervening CA 9-Apr-2003
The judge, a circuit judge who had been appointed a judge of the TCC, had adjudicated on the claimant’s case in the High Court in the false belief that the appointment allowed him to do so.
Held: The judge had not wilfully closed his eyes to . .
CitedBaldock v Webster and Others CA 21-Dec-2004
The claimant alleged negligence against his solicitors in having failed to challenge an order made ultra vires by a county court judge.
Held: The common law doctrine of de facto jurisdiction validated the decision of the judge. The recorder . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Human Rights

Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.171248