Otkritie International Investment Management and Others v Urumov: CA 14 Oct 2014

The claimants brought proceedings against several defendants. There had been a series of hearings conducted by a single judge leading to findings that several defendants had been involved in a fraud. The defendants sought recusal of that judge saying that his extensive involvement in the earlier proceedings left a risk of an appearance of bias. The judge agreed, and the claimants appealed.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The judge should not have recused himself.

There is a consistent body of authority to the effect that bias is not to be imputed to a judge by reason of his previous rulings or decisions in the same case (in which a party has participated and been heard) unless it can be shown he is likely to reach his decision ‘by reference to extraneous matters or predilections or preferences’. There can be no suggestion that Eder J would proceed in the present case by reference to such matters. He felt that he had been accused of actual malice, and had based his decision to recuse, but ‘the mere fact that a litigant decides to raise the stakes in that way cannot give rise to any difference of legal principle.’
‘in Dar’s case the judge felt that the informed observer could not have the necessary confidence in the proceedings when the judge had already considered the essential evidence that would be deployed on the committal application and had come to the conclusion that the witnesses giving it were lying to him. A recusal application is a very personal matter for the judge to decide and this court will seldom interfere with this delicate jurisdiction. The overall feeling I have from reading Andrew Smith J’s judgment is that he himself felt uncomfortable about reconsidering essentially the same evidence on the very same issue which he would have to decide in the contempt application. ‘
‘The general rule is that he should not recuse himself, unless he either considers that he genuinely cannot give one or other party a fair hearing or that a fair minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that he would not do so . . there must be substantial evidence of actual or imputed bias before the general rule can be overcome. All of the cases, moreover, emphasise that the issue of recusal is extremely fact-sensitive.’

Laws, Longmore, Moore-Bick LJJ
[2014] EWCA Civ 1315
England and Wales
CitedPorter and Weeks v Magill HL 13-Dec-2001
Councillors Liable for Unlawful Purposes Use
The defendant local councillors were accused of having sold rather than let council houses in order to encourage an electorate which would be more likely to be supportive of their political party. They had been advised that the policy would be . .
CitedNathan v Smilovitch and Another CA 13-May-2002
Application to set aside leave to appeal.
Held: It is a rare case in which, once permission to appeal has been granted it is appropriate to set it aside. . .
CitedLivesey v New South Wales Bar Association 20-May-1983
High Court of Australia – Courts and Judges – Bias – Prejudgment of issues and of credibility of witness – Refusal to withdraw.
The defendant barrister resisted an application to strike his name off the roll. B, at the time a law student and . .
CitedBahai v Rashidian CA 1985
The claimant’s solicitor had given evidence in support of the claim and the judge had been very critical of that evidence. The defendant sought an order that the solicitor be jointly liable with his client for the defendant’s costs and the solicitor . .
CitedVakauta v Kelly 1989
(High Court of Australia) The majority held that the first instance judge fell on the wrong side of ‘an ill-defined line beyond which the expression by a trial judge of preconceived views about the reliability of particular medical witnesses could . .
CitedArab Monetary Fund v Hashim and Others (No 8) CA 30-Apr-1993
It was suggested that Chadwick J should not continue with the case, having heard previous hearings. He refused to recuse himself. The defendant appealed.
Held: Counsel must use his own and conscientious judgment that there was proper evidence . .
CitedLocabail (UK) Ltd, Regina v Bayfield Properties Ltd CA 17-Nov-1999
Adverse Comments by Judge Need not be Show of Bias
In five cases, leave to appeal was sought on the basis that a party had been refused disqualification of judges on grounds of bias. The court considered the circumstances under which a fear of bias in a court may prove to be well founded: ‘The mere . .
CitedP v The General Council of the Bar; Re P (A Barrister) 24-Jan-2005
(Visitors to the Inns of Court) A Disciplinary Tribunal was convened by the President of COIC pursuant to the 2000 Regulations. It found the barrister guilty of misconduct and suspended her from practice for three months. The Visitors appointed to . .
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 . .
CitedEx Parte Lewin; In re Ward 1946
(Australia – New South Wales) The court heard an an application for a rule nisi for a writ of statutory prohibition directed to a magistrate in proceedings by a landlord for the recovery of premises. The magistrate had already heard and determined a . .
CitedDobbs v Triodos Bank Nv (No 1) CA 15-Apr-2005
The defendant a litigant in person sought to stay his appeal. He asked the court to stay his appeal so that he could get legal aid, and to encourage the LSC to grant legal aid.
Held: The court refused. The defendant asserted that courts would . .
CitedJSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov (Recusal) CA 28-Nov-2012
The question was whether a judge had been right not to recuse himself as the nominated judge of trial, in circumstances where he had had to hear, prior to trial, an application to commit one of the parties for contempt of court and had found a . .
CitedDar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company and Another v Al-Sayed Bader Hashim Al Refai and Others ComC 11-Apr-2014
Applications as to management of committal application. Andrew Smith J had ruled in favour of the applicant/defendant that without notice orders made against them should be discharged because the claimants had misled the court and failed to comply . .
CitedRe K (A Child) CA 15-Jul-2014
Appeals by a father against orders made in wardship proceedings concerning M, a young boy who was born on 5 July 2012 and is currently in Singapore where he is being cared for by his paternal grandparents. The trial judge had made it plain to a . .
CitedRe K (A Child) CA 15-Jul-2014
Appeals by a father against orders made in wardship proceedings concerning M, a young boy who was born on 5 July 2012 and is currently in Singapore where he is being cared for by his paternal grandparents. The trial judge had made it plain to a . .

Cited by:
CitedHayden v Associated Newspapers Ltd QBD 11-Mar-2020
The claimant alleged defamation by the defendant, and the court now considered the meanings of the words complained of. Another person had been held by police for seven hours after identifying the claimant as a transgendered man.
Held: The . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Natural Justice, Litigation Practice

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.537539