The claimants wanted planning permission to redevelop land. The defendant firm of solicitors, their tenants, had challenged the planning permission. The claimants alleged that that opposition was a tortious abuse because its true purpose was to pressure the claimants into relocating them. The claimants appealed against summary dismissal of their claim on the basis that no tort of maliciously instituting proceedngs process existed.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘there is no general tort of malicious prosecution of civil cases. On policy grounds, the tort of malicious prosecution in relation to civil cases is confined to the three well established heads of damage recognised in Quartz Hill and Gregory. Second, essential ingredients of a claim for malicious prosecution are the absence of reasonable and probable cause and that the proceedings have ended in favour of the person maliciously prosecuted. Third, Grainger has never been overruled. It is authority for a tort of abuse of process. The only other case within this jurisdiction, in which the tort has arguably been successfully invoked, is Gilding, over 140 years ago. Both cases concerned a blatant misuse of a particular process, namely arrest and execution, within existing proceedings. In both cases the abuse of that process involved compulsion by arrest and imprisonment to achieve a collateral advantage. Fourth, in cases of abuse of process, it is irrelevant whether or not there was reasonable or probable cause for the proceedings, or in whose favour they ended, or whether they have ended at all. Fifth, statements in the English authorities describing a broader application of the test of abuse of process than the critical factual elements of Grainger and Gilding were all obiter. ‘
Mummery LJ, Moore-Bick LJ, Etherton LJ
 EWCA Civ 1402, Times 27-Jan-2010,  1 Ch 467,  2 WLR 1265,  NPC 147,  1 EG 70,  2 All ER 741,  PTSR 1246
England and Wales
Cited – Grainger v Hill CEC 1838
Misuse of Power for ulterior object
D1 and D2 lent C 80 pounds repayable in 1837, secured by a mortgage on C’s vessel. C was to be free to continue to use the vessel in the interim but the law forbade its use if he were to cease to hold its register. In 1836 the Ds became concerned . .
See Also – Fielder and Fladgate Llp v Westminster City Council Admn 27-Feb-2009
The claimants challenged the grant of planning permission for the development of land including the offices of which they were tenants. They said that the permission had been granted in error as to the application of the policy for providing . .
Appeal from – Land Securities Plc and Others v Fladgate Fielder (A Firm) ChD 25-Mar-2009
The claimants sought damages, alleging that the defendants had abused the litigation process by issuing proceedings to challenge a grant of planning permission to the claimants not so as to defeat the grant, but by causing the claimants . .
Cited – Broxton v McClelland CA 31-Jan-1995
The defendants issued various applications to strike out the claim, including a claim of abuse of process. The action was being financially maintained by a third party. The defendants contended that the maintainer’s purpose was to oppress and . .
Cited – Speed Seal Ltd v Paddington CA 1985
The court was asked whether the defendant should be permitted to add to his pleadings a counterclaim asserting that the action was brought in bad faith for the ulterior motive of damaging the defendants’ business, and not for the protection of any . .
Cited – Goldsmith v Sperrings Ltd CA 1977
Claims for Collateral Purpose treated as abuse
The plaintiff commenced proceedings for damages for libel and an injunction against the publishers, the editors and the main distributors of Private Eye. In addition, he issued writs against a large number of other wholesale and retail distributors . .
Cited – Savill v Roberts CCP 1790
Cited – Gilding v Eyre And Another CCP 8-Jul-1861
After getting judgment against the plaintiff for a debt, and substantial repayment of it by him, the defendant issued a writ of execution for the full amount of the debt, in consequence of which the plaintiff was arrested by the sheriff’s officers. . .
Cited – In re Majory, a debtor CA 1955
The debtor challenged the bankruptcy petition and receiving order saying that the creditor had attempted in connection with the proceedings to extort andpound;8 15s from the debtor in excess of the sums lawfully due under a court judgment. He said . .
Cited – Parton v Hill 1864
The plaintiff asserted the malicious issue of an attachment of a debt owing from a third person to the plaintiff, without reasonable or probable cause.
Held: The claim failed. . .
Cited – Quartz Hill Consolidated Gold Mining Co v Eyre CA 1883
The court considered whether an action lay without proof of special damage for maliciously presenting a winding up petition.
Held: There was. Though there was no general cause of action for maliciously bringing civil proceedings without . .
Cited – Metall und Rohstoff AG v Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette Inc CA 1990
There was a complicated commercial dispute involving allegations of conspiracy. A claim by the plaintiffs for inducing or procuring a breach of contract would have been statute-barred in New York.
Held: Slade LJ said: ‘The judge’s approach to . .
Cited – Equitable Life Assurance Society v Ernst and Young CA 25-Jul-2003
The claimant sought damages from its accountants, saying that had they been advised of the difficulties in their financial situation, they would have been able to avoid the loss of some 2.5 billion pounds, or to sell their assets at a time when . .
Cited – Gregory v Portsmouth City Council HL 10-Feb-2000
Disciplinary proceedings had been taken by the local authority against Mr Gregory, a council member, after allegations had been made that he had failed to declare conflicts of interest, and that he had used confidential information to secure a . .
Cited – Three Rivers District Council and Others v Governor and Company of The Bank of England (No 3) HL 22-Mar-2001
Misfeasance in Public Office – Recklessness
The bank sought to strike out the claim alleging misfeasance in public office in having failed to regulate the failed bank, BCCI.
Held: Misfeasance in public office might occur not only when a company officer acted to injure a party, but also . .
Cited – Mayor of Bradford v Pickles HL 29-Jul-1895
The plaintiffs sought an injunction to prevent the defendant interfering with the supply of water to the city. He would have done so entirely by actions on his own land.
Held: The plaintiffs could have no property in the water until it came on . .
Cited – Regina on the Application of Feakins v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs CA 4-Nov-2003
The applicant farmer had substantial volumes of potentially contaminated carcasses on his land. The respondent derogated from the European regulations which would have arranged for the disposal of the carcasses. The respondent challenged the . .
Cited – Mount Cook Land Ltd and Another v Westminster City Council CA 14-Oct-2003
The applicants had sought judicial review of the defendant’s grant of planning permission for the redevelopment of the former CandA building in Oxford Street. Though the application for leave to apply had been successful, and a full hearing took . .
Cited – Stobart Group Ltd and Others v Elliott QBD 11-Apr-2013
The defendant applied to the court for various officers of the cliamant companies to be subject to contempt proceedings. The claimants asked the court to strike of the defendant’s counterclaim and to make a civil restraint order against him. There . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Torts – Other
Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.384362