Willers 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 prosecution could be committed in a prosecution of civil proceedings. The case came before the Court under the leapfrog certificate system.
Held: The appeal succeeded (Lords Neuberger of Abbotsbury PSC, Mance, Sumption, Reed JJSC dissenting) It was unjust for a person to suffer injury as a result of the malicious prosecution of legal proceedings for which there was no reasonable ground and not to be compensated for the injury intentionally caused by the person responsible for it. The tort of malicious prosecution could be committed by the commencement of civil proceedings.
Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance, Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Toulson
[2016] UKSC 43, UKSC 2015/0154, [2016] 3 WLR 477, [2016] WLR(D) 401
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC (43), SC Summary (43), SC (44), SC Summary (44), Bailii Summary, WLRD
Administration of Justice Act 1969 12
England and Wales
Appeal fromWillers 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 . .
CitedGregory 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 . .
CitedCrawford 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 . .
CitedAtwood v Monger 1658
Atwood brought an action upon the case against Monger, for causing a false presentment to be made against him before the Conservators of the River of Thames, for suffering 8 loads of earth to fall into the river of Thames, and obteins a verdict ; . .
CitedWaterer v Freeman 1792
The court considered whether the double execution on goods for a debt was a tort. . .
CitedCotterell v Jones And Ablett 25-Nov-1851
A claim was made against two third parties for maliciously commencing an unfounded action against the plaintiff using the name of Osborne, and knowing him to be a pauper. The action was non-suited without, so far as appeared, any order for costs . .
CitedJohnson v Emerson 1871
Cleasby B recognised that the tort of malicious prosecution could be committed in the malicious presentation of a winding up petition. The effect of presentation of such a petition was immediately damaging to the company which was the subject of the . .
CitedQuartz 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 . .
CitedThe Walter D Wallet 1893
The vessel was arrested by a defendant who had been, but no longer was, a part owner of the vessel, having forgotten or forgotten the importance of that fact.
Held: Procuring the wrongful arrest of a ship can found a cause of action similar to . .
CitedClissold v Cratchley CA 1910
A solicitor had sued out a Writ of fi.fa on an order in favour of his client, unaware that the debt had been paid at the country office of the solicitor, prior to the writ being issued.
Held: An action in tort will be available for setting in . .
CitedRoy v Prior HL 1970
The court considered an alleged tort of maliciously procuring an arrest. The plaintiff had been arrested under a bench warrant issued as a result of evidence given by the defendant. He sued the defendant for damages for malicious arrest.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v British Broadcasting Corporation ex parte Quintavelle (PPC for the Prolife Alliance) CA 20-Oct-1997
The applicant stood for Parliament, but the respondent had refused to show his party election broadcast on the grounds of its lack of taste and decency. He had sought to demonstrate the evils of abortion, and now renewed his application for leave to . .
CitedSavile v Roberts 1792
D had maliciously caused C to be indicted for riot. Following his acquittal C sued D for malicious prosecution. The court affirmed the judgment which had been given for C.
Held: It was irrelevant that D had not been part of a conspiracy. An . .
CitedGrovit and others v Doctor and others HL 24-Apr-1997
The plaintiff began a defamation action against seven defendants. Each had admitted publication but pleaded justification. The claims against the fourth to seventh defendants were dismissed by consent, and the third had gone into liquidation. The . .
CitedFairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd and Others HL 20-Jun-2002
The claimants suffered mesothelioma after contact with asbestos while at work. Their employers pointed to several employments which might have given rise to the condition, saying it could not be clear which particular employment gave rise to the . .
CitedRegent Leisuretime Ltd and others v Skerrett and Another CA 4-Jul-2006
The court set aside a first stage wasted costs order made by the judge below against the solicitors Reynolds Porter Chamberlain. The judge had been given no indication of the costs claimed and did not have material on which he could form a view as . .
CitedZurich Insurance Plc UK Branch v International Energy Group Ltd SC 20-May-2015
A claim had been made for mesothelioma following exposure to asbestos, but the claim arose in Guernsey. Acknowledging the acute difficultis particular to the evidence in such cases, the House of Lords, in Fairchild. had introduced the Special Rule . .
CitedManifest Shipping Co Ltd v Uni-Polaris Shipping Co Ltd and Others HL 23-Jan-2001
The claimant took out insurance on its fleet of ships (the Star Sea). It had been laid up in its off season. The ship’s safety certificates were renewed before it sailed. It was damaged by fire. The insurers asserted that the ship had been . .
CitedPurton v Honnor 6-Feb-1798
The claim was for damages for vexatious ejectment. On ‘the court expressing themselves clearly of opinion on the authority of Savile v Roberts 1 Salk 13, that such an action was not maintainable’, counsel for the plaintiff declined to argue the . .
CitedSinclair v Eldred 19-Jun-1811
The plaintiff had been arrested on a bill of Middlesex, a device allowing civil proceedings to be commenced in the Court of King’s Bench (rather than the Common Pleas) under the fiction that a trespass had been committed in the County of Middlesex. . .
CitedChurchill v Siggers 9-Jun-1854
Lord Campbell CJ explained the basis of tortious liability for bringing proceedings maliciously and without reasonable or probable cause: ‘To put into force the process of the law maliciously and without any reasonable or probable cause is wrongful; . .
CitedWiffen v Bailey and Romford Urban District Council CA 1915
Non-compliance with a Public Health Act 1875 notice did not necessarily and naturally involve damage to the defendant’s fair name.
Buckley LJ summarised the effect of the Quartz Hill case: ‘So the exception of civil proceedings, so far as they . .

Cited by:
See AlsoWillers 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. . .
See AlsoVersloot Dredging Bv and Another v Hdi Gerling Industrie Versicherung Ag and Others SC 20-Jul-2016
The ‘DC MERWESTONE’ suffered a water ingress of water flooding the engine room. This resulted from (i) the negligence of the crew in failing to close the sea inlet valve of the emergency fire pump and drain down the system, after they had used the . .
See AlsoWillers v Joyce and Another Re: Gubay, Deceased ChD 23-May-2017
Defendants’ application to strike out elements of the claimants re-re-amended particulars of claim. . .
See AlsoWillers v Joyce and Others ChD 12-Apr-2019
Application to determine the admissibility of evidence on which the applicant executors wish to rely in an application for costs against the respondents under s.51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981. The Contested Material comprises references made in . .
See AlsoWillers v Joyce and Others ChD 8-Aug-2019
Claim for malicious prosecution and abuse of process . .
CitedCXZ v ZXC QBD 26-Jun-2020
Malicious Prosecution needs court involvement
W had made false allegations against her husband of child sex abuse to police. He sued in malicious prosecution. She applied to strike out, and he replied saying that as a developing area of law a strike out was inappropriate.
Held: The claim . .
CitedGerrard and Another v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd and Another QBD 27-Nov-2020
The claimants, a solicitor and his wife, sought damages in harassment and data protection, against a party to proceedings in which he was acting professionally, and against the investigative firm instructed by them. The defendants now requested the . .
CitedJames-Bowen and Others v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis SC 25-Jul-2018
The Court was asked whether the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (‘the Commissioner’) owes a duty to her officers, in the conduct of proceedings against her based on their alleged misconduct, to take reasonable care to protect them from . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 August 2021; Ref: scu.567277