Hughes Jarvis Ltd v Searle and Another: CA 15 Jan 2019

The claimant and director appealed from orders associated with a finding of contempt of court. The Director, the case having been adjourned overnight during the course of his evidence, and despite warnings to the contrary had sought to communicate with his solicitors and counsel. He had then been remanded in custody overnight despite that that was unnecessary and that it would prevent him obtaining legal advice.
‘ trial judges frequently warn witnesses not to discuss their evidence whilst still under oath, I have never regarded that as amounting to an order as such nor, in my view, can it be treated as one in this case. The judge (in the passages I have quoted) explained to Mr Jarvis why it was important that he did not discuss his evidence but she did not warn him that if he did discuss his evidence he would be in breach of an order and in contempt of court. An order was never drawn up in the terms of the recital and the language of the alleged order quoted in the recital was not in fact the language used by the judge when she warned Mr Jarvis not to discuss his evidence with anyone. The obvious sanction open to a judge who discovers that a witness has communicated with some third party about his evidence during the course of the trial is to ascertain what was discussed and, if appropriate, to discount or give no weight to the evidence. ‘

Patten, Leggatt, Nicola Davies LJJ
[2019] EWCA Civ 1, [2019] WLR(D) 12, [2019] 1 WLR 2934
Bailii, WLRD
County Courts Act 1984 118(1)(b)
England and Wales
Appeal fromHughes Jarvis Limited v Searle Misc 27-Apr-2018
(Oxford County Court) An application was made for the committal for contempt of a party. The court had adjourned overnight while he was giving evidence, and despite being warned against communicating with anyone else, had sent numerous emails to his . .
CitedAttorney-General v Butterworth CA 1962
The court considered the penalisation of a witness who had given evidence in contempt of the court.
It would be a contempt for someone to threaten or interfere with a witness in order to deter them from giving evidence or in order to persuade . .
CitedCouncil of City of Manchester v McCann CA 16-Nov-1998
A threat made against a witness is clearly an insult within the Act, and a threat made as a witness returns home after court is also a contempt even though not strictly in the face of the Court.
Section 118 of the 1984 Act now provides an . .
CitedChidzoy v British Broadcasting Corporation EAT 5-Apr-2018
Strike out for unreasonable conduct
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Striking-out/dismissal
Strike out of claim – unreasonable conduct of proceedings
During a short break in the course of giving evidence at the Full Merits Hearing of her claims, the Claimant participated in a . .
CitedMalgar Ltd v R E Leach Engineering Ltd ChD 1-Nov-1999
The Civil Procedure Rules could not change the substantive law. It therefore remained necessary for it to be shown that in addition to knowing that what was said was false, the party had to have known that what was being said was likely to interfere . .
CitedFairclough Homes Ltd v Summers SC 27-Jun-2012
The respondent had made a personal injury claim, but had then been discovered to have wildly and dishonestly exaggerated the damages claim. The defendant argued that the court should hand down some condign form of punishment, and appealed against . .
CitedNational Westminster Bank Plc v Rabobank Nederland ComC 14-Nov-2006
On a request for a strike out the test in every case must be what is just and proportionate; and at para 62, as a postscript, that ‘nothing in this judgment affects the correct approach in a case where an application is made to strike out a . .
CitedArrow Nominees Inc and Another v Blackledge and Others CA 22-Jun-2000
A petition had been lodged alleging unfair prejudice in the conduct of the company’s affairs. The defendants alleged that when applying for relief under section 459, the claimants had attempted to pervert the course of justice by producing forged or . .
CitedZahoor and Others v Masood and Others CA 3-Jul-2009
It was argued that the judge should have struck the claim out as an abuse of process on the ground that some at least of the claims were based on forged documents and false written and oral evidence.
Held: Arrow Nominees was authority for the . .
CitedLogicrose Ltd v Southend United Football Club Ltd CA 5-Feb-1988
The agent required the contractual counterparty to pay a bribe of pounds 70,000 to an offshore account.
Held: The bribe was held to be recoverable by the principal whether the principal rescinded or affirmed the contract because it was a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 16 December 2021; Ref: scu.632653