Taylor v Lawrence: CA 4 Feb 2002

A party sought to re-open a judgment on the Court of Appeal after it had been perfected. A case had been tried before a judge. One party had asked for a different judge to be appointed, after the judge disclosed that he had been a client of the firm of solicitors representing the opposing party, and they later appealed his judgment. The appeal was rejected, but then the party discovered that, contrary to what the judge had said, to the effect that he had not instructed the firm for some time, he had had his will drawn up by the firm in the days before the hearing, and was not to be billed.
Held: It was possible for the court to re-open a case where there was a manifest injustice, and there was no available remedy. If the remedy would be to take the case to the House of Lords, but leave would be refused, the court could also re-open the case. This jurisdiction must be used only with great caution. It is a principle of common law that a final judgment should be just that. Nevertheless, the allegation of bias in the judge was not made out. The test in cases of apparent bias was if, in all the circumstances, a fair-minded and informed observer would see a real possibility that the tribunal was biased. The normal contacts between members of the legal profession should not lead to that suspicion. The informed observer of today can be expected to be aware of the legal traditions and culture of this jurisdiction.
There is a distinction between the question whether a court has jurisdiction and how it exercises the jurisdiction given by statute. A court does not need to be given express power to decide upon the procedure which it wishes to adopt. Such a power is implicit in it being required to determine appeals. Lord Woolf explained the difference between the implied or implicit jurisdiction of the court and the way in which that jurisdiction is exercised: ‘It is very easy to confuse questions as to what is the jurisdiction of a court and how that jurisdiction should be exercised. The residual jurisdiction which we are satisfied is vested in a court of appeal to avoid real injustice in exceptional circumstances is linked to a discretion which enables the court to confine the use of that jurisdiction to the cases in which it is appropriate for it to be exercised. There is a tension between a court having a residual jurisdiction of the type to which we are here referring and the need to have finality in litigation. The ability to reopen proceedings after the ordinary appeal process has been concluded can also create injustice. There therefore needs to be a procedure which will ensure that proceedings will only be reopened when there is a real requirement for this to happen.’

Lord Woolf CJ, Lord Phillips, And, Lord Justice Ward, Lord Justice Brooke, Lord Justice Chadwick
Times 04-Feb-2002, Gazette 21-Mar-2002, [2002] EWCA Civ 90, [2002] 2 All ER 353, [2002] 3 WLR 640, [2003] QB 528
England and Wales
CitedLadd v Marshall CA 29-Nov-1954
Conditions for new evidence on appeal
At the trial, the wife of the appellant’s opponent said she had forgotten certain events. After the trial she began divorce proceedings, and informed the appellant that she now remembered. He sought either to appeal admitting fresh evidence, or for . .
CitedRegina v Bow Street Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate, ex parte Pinochet Ugarte (No 2) HL 15-Jan-1999
A petition was brought to request that a judgment of the House be set aside because the wife of one their lordships, Lord Hoffmann, was as an unpaid director of a subsidiary of Amnesty International which had in turn been involved in a campaign . .
CitedIn re Barrell Enterprises CA 1972
A judge has power to reconsider a judgement which he has delivered before the order consequent upon it has been sealed, but the judge should only exercise this power if there are strong reasons for doing so. When oral judgments have been given the . .
CitedFlower v Lloyd CA 1877
The plaintiffs tried to restrain the defendant from infringing their patent. They succeeded at first instance but the order was overturned on appeal. An expert went to inspect the process at the defendant’s works. Later, employees gave affidavits . .
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 . .
CitedTaylor and Another v Lawrence and Another CA 25-Jan-2001
Boundary dispute appeal – whether court has apparent bias. The court must ask ‘whether those circumstances would lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility . . that the tribunal was biased.’ . .
See AlsoTaylor and Another v Lawrence and Another CA 25-Jan-2001
Boundary dispute appeal – whether court has apparent bias. The court must ask ‘whether those circumstances would lead a fair-minded and informed observer to conclude that there was a real possibility . . that the tribunal was biased.’ . .

Cited by:
CitedSeray-Wurie v Hackney London Borough Council CA 25-Jun-2002
The claimant had applied for and been granted its costs certificate by default. The respondent claimed it had sent its point of issue notice in time. The council now applied under the rule for the court itself to re-open the decision to allow the . .
CitedRegina v Moore CACD 12-May-2003
The applicant had been convicted of contempt of court, but succeeded on appeal. Costs had been ordered in his favour, but the matter had been referred back to the court to consider the extent of its powers on such an occasion.
Held: The making . .
CitedLawal v Northern Spirit Limited HL 19-Jun-2003
Counsel appearing at the tribunal had previously sat as a judge with a tribunal member. The opposing party asserted bias in the tribunal.
Held: The test in Gough should be restated in part so that the court must first ascertain all the . .
CitedDonovan Crawford Regardless Limited Alma Crawford v Financial Institutions Services Limited PC 19-Jun-2003
PC (Jamaica) The petitioners sought leave to appeal to the Privy Council. They had an appeal as of right. They now sought special leave, complaining that the Court in Jamaca had granted leave subject to them . .
CitedG v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Interim Decision) CA 9-Mar-2004
A certificate had been granted by the Home Secretary that the applicant was suspected of terrorism, and he had accordingly been detained under special procedures. When his case had come before the Special Immigration Appeal Tribunal, they had . .
CitedCouwenbergh v Valkova CA 27-May-2004
The deceased’s family lived in Europe. The defendant had moved in as tenant and had become confidante and friend over many years. A will had been prepared leaving everything to the defendant. That will had been challenged alleging incorrect . .
CitedRoberts v Parole Board CA 28-Jul-2004
The discretionary life-prisoner faced a parole board. The Secretary of State wished to present evidence, but wanted the witness to be protected. The Parole Board appointed special counsel to hear the evidence on behalf of the prisoner on terms that . .
AppliedRe U (A Child) CA 24-Feb-2005
The applicant sought a second appeal saying there was fresh evidence.
Held: Applying Taylor -v- Lawrence, a second appeal could only be entertained where it was shown that the earlier judicial process had been critically undermined. It must be . .
CitedCouwenbergh v Valkova CA 28-Jan-2005
The will was challenged as to its due execution. Statements had been produced that the two witnesses had not been present when the will was signed, but those witnesses now said that they and not signed the statements.
Held: The evidence met . .
CitedAWG Group Ltd and Another v Morrison and Another ChD 1-Dec-2005
Application was made for the judge to recuse himself from a forthcoming trial when he indicated that an intended witness was known to him personally.
Held: The test to be applied was to include: ‘all circumstances which have a bearing on the . .
CitedMorrison and Another v AWG Group Ltd and Another CA 20-Jan-2006
The defendants requested the judge to recuse himself because one witness was well known to the judge. He declined, saying that arrangements had been made for him not to be called. The defendant appealed.
Held: There was no allegation of actual . .
CitedIn re S (a child) and W (a child); KSJ v WRW CA 5-Nov-2008
The mother sought leave to appeal against orders made for the financial support of her children. The parties had been involved in very protracted and bitter litigation.
Held: The appeals had no reasonable prospect of success and were . .
CitedJudge v Judge and others CA 19-Dec-2008
The wife appealed against an order refusing to set aside an earlier order for ancillary relief in her divorce proeedings, arguing that it had been made under a mistake. The sum available for division had had deducted an expected liabiliity to the . .
CitedAsda Stores Ltd v Thompson, Pullan, and Caller EAT 16-Jun-2003
The appellants had been dismissed after investigations satisfied the employer that the employees had been using illegal drugs. Cross appeals were made in the following misconduct unfair dismissal claim. The employees complained of the use of . .
CitedOwens v Noble CA 10-Mar-2010
The respondent had been awarded substantial damages after an accident for which the appellant was responsible. The appellant now said that the claimant had exaggerated his injuries and misled the judge. The defendant argued that the correct approach . .
CitedSherry v The Queen PC 4-Mar-2013
Discretion as to credit for remand time
(Guernsey) In 1980 the appellant had been sentenced to three months imprisonment. He had spent 10 days on remand, but no allowance was given for that time. He gave notice of appeal, but after being released on open remand, he failed to appear at his . .
CitedPatel, Re Defendant’s Cost Order CACD 6-Jul-2012
The defendant had been granted a defendant costs order, but he had not complied with the Rules by first outlining the type of costs and amount claimed’ and the Court had not required compliance. He had successfully appealed against a conviction for . .
CitedGuy v Barclays Bank Plc CA 8-Dec-2010
In an earlier action the claimant said that he had been defraused of land by a forged transfer. The transfereee had charged the land to the respondent bank who in that action gained a decision that its charge was effective, the transfer being . .
MentionedGold Harp Properties Ltd v Macleod and Others CA 29-Jul-2014
The company appealed against an order re-instating to the register leases which the company said it had forfeited for non-payment of rent. After the forfeiture, the landlord had granted new leases. It appealed saying that exceptional circumstances . .
CitedYasain, Regina v CACD 16-Jul-2015
The Court was asked as to the powers of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division to re-open an appeal to correct an error which is said to have caused real injustice in that the error led to the quashing of a sentence lawfully imposed in the Crown . .
CitedBancoult, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 2) SC 29-Jun-2016
Undisclosed Matter inadequate to revisit decision
The claimant sought to have set aside a decision of the House of Lords as to the validity of the 2004 Order, saying that it had been based on a failure by the defendant properly to disclose matters it was under a duty of candour to disclose.
CitedAmeyaw v McGoldrick and Others QBD 6-Jul-2020
Recusal Refused – former Pupil Master
Request for recusal – the judge was said to have been a member of the same chambers as counsel for the claimant and had been his mentor.
Held: Refused: ‘It was untenable to contend that there was an appearance of bias in circumstances where . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Constitutional, Natural Justice

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.167558

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