Willers v Gubay: ChD 15 May 2015

The court was asked whether the tort of malicious prosecution of civil proceedings is known to English law.
Held: The Crawfod Adjusters case should not be followed: ‘If I am not bound by Gregory, then I see no reason for departing from the approach of the Court of Appeal in Quartz Hill v Eyre. That decision has not been overruled and is binding on me. This facts of this case relate to an ordinary civil action and, as such, do not support the tort of malicious prosecution . .The claimant’s claim for damages for malicious prosecution should be struck out as disclosing no cause of action known to English law.’
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is not a court. Rather, its function is to advise Her Majesty on ‘appeals to Her Majesty in Council’ from any court in any colony (see section 1 of the Judicial Committee Act 1844). The Privy Council does not therefore appear in the hierarchy of courts in England and Wales save exceptionally, by way of example, in appeals from Ecclesiastical cases where its decisions will be binding on the courts in that hierarchy.
Tipples QC said that she could ‘only follow [a] decision of the Privy Council’ to the opposite effect ‘if, for all practical purposes, it is a foregone conclusion that the Supreme Court will follow the decision of the Privy Council’. As a first instance judge, she was, at least in principle, ‘bound by Gregory v Portsmouth and, in accordance with the doctrine of precedent, [could] not follow Crawford v Sagicor’,

Amanda Tipples QC
[2015] EWHC 1315 (Ch)
England and Wales
AppliedGregory 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 . .
Not FollowedCrawford Adjusters and Others v Sagicor General Insurance (Cayman) Ltd and Another PC 13-Jun-2013
(Cayman Islands) A hurricane had damaged property insured by the respondent company. The company employed the appellant as loss adjustor, but came to suspect advance payments recommended by him, and eventually claimed damages for deceit and . .
CitedHuddersfield Police Authority v Watson 1947
A judge of the High Court should respect (but is not bound to follow) a decision of another judge of the High Court, but must follow decisions of the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords. . .
CitedPractice Statement (Judicial Precedent) HL 1966
The House gave guidance how it would treat an invitation to depart from a previous decision of the House. Such a course was possible, but the direction was not an ‘open sesame’ for a differently constituted committee to prefer their views to those . .
CitedDaraydan Holdings Limited, Cairn Estates Limited and Others v Solland International Limited and Others ChD 26-Mar-2004
The court was asked whether Lister and Co v Stubbs 45 ChD 1, a decision of the Court of Appeal, was binding on him or whether he could apply the Privy Council’s decision in Attorney General for Hong Kong v Reid
Held: On the facts of the case . .
CitedNational Westminster Bank Plc v Spectrum Plus Ltd and Others; In re Spectrum Plus Ltd (in liquidation) CA 12-Jul-2004
The High Court or the Court of Appeal should not follow a decision of the Privy Council in place of a decision of the House of Lords, unless the circumstances are quite exceptional and the court is satisfied that in practice the result would be a . .
CitedJames, Regina v; Regina v Karimi CACD 25-Jan-2006
The defendants appealed their convictions for murder, saying that the court had not properly guided the jury on provocation. The court was faced with apparently conflicting decision of the House of Lords (Smith) and the Privy Council (Holley).
CitedAbou Rahmah and others v Abacha and others CA 8-Nov-2006
The appellants were victims of a fraud conducted via the respondent bank by one of their clients. They appealed from a decision that the bank was not liable to the victims either in the equitable tort of knowing or dishonest assistance in a breach . .
CitedSinclair Investments (UK) Ltd v Versailles Trade Finance Ltd and Others CA 29-Mar-2011
The appellant challenged a decision that it was not entitled to a proprietary interest in the proceeds of sale of some shares which had been acquired with the proceeds of a breach of trust. Specifically, the claims gave rise to (i) an issue as to . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromWillers v Joyce and Another (Re: Gubay (Deceased) No 1) SC 20-Jul-2016
Parties had been involved in an action for wrongful trading. This was not persisted with but the claimant sought damages saying that the action was only part of a campaign to do him harm. This appeal raised the question whether the tort of malicious . .
Appeal fromWillers v Joyce and Another (Re: Gubay (Deceased) No 2) SC 20-Jul-2016
The Court was asked whether and in what circumstances a lower court may follow a decision of the Privy Council which has reached a different conclusion from that of the House of Lords (or the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal) on an earlier occasion. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Constitutional

Updated: 30 December 2021; Ref: scu.546846