Willers 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.
Held: The court set out the position in law and practice to be followed.
In general: ‘There is no doubt that, unless there is a decision of a superior court to the contrary effect, a court in England and Wales can normally be expected to follow a decision of the JCPC, but there is no question of it being bound to do so as a matter of precedent. There is also no doubt that a court should not, at least normally, follow a decision of the JCPC, if it is inconsistent with the decision of a court which is binding in accordance with the principles set out in paras 5, 8 and 9 above.’
The court provided one exception to the absolute nature of the second limb of the above, which was where on an appeal to the JCPC, a party intended to request that it depart from an earlier decision of the House of Lords or the Supreme Court, or of the Court of Appeal on a point of English law, and where the JCPC decides that the House of Lords or Supreme Court, or, as the case may be, the Court of Appeal, was wrong. In such a case: ‘The registrar of the JCPC will draw the attention of the President of the JCPC to the fact there may be such an invitation. The President can then take that fact into account when deciding on the constitution and size of the panel which is to hear the appeal, and, provided that the point at issue is one of English law, the members of that panel can, if they think it appropriate, not only decide that the earlier decision of the House of Lords or Supreme Court, or of the Court of Appeal, was wrong, but also can expressly direct that domestic courts should treat the decision of the JCPC as representing the law of England and Wales. ‘
Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Mance. Lord Kerr, Lord Clarke, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Reed, Lord Toulson
[2016] UKSC 44, UKSC 2015/0154, [2016] WLR(D) 402, UKSC 2015/0154
Bailii, Bailii Summary,
England and Wales
See AlsoWillers 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 . .
CitedLondon Street Tramways v London County Council HL 25-Apr-1898
House Decisions binding on Itself
The House laid down principles for the doctrine of precedent. When faced with the hypothesis that a case might have been decided in ignorance of the existence of some relevant statutory provision or in reliance on some statutory provision which was . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedHoward De Walden Estates Ltd and Another v Aggio and others; Earl Cadogan and others v 26 Cadogan Square Ltd CA 24-May-2007
Note: ‘In accordance with the well established principles of stare decisis the decisions of a higher court are binding on judges sitting in a lower court. This principle serves the interests of legal certainty: see Broome v. Cassell and Co [1972] AC . .
CitedYoung v The Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd CA 28-Jul-1944
Court of Appeal must follow Own Decisions
The claimant was injured and received compensation. He then sought to recover again, alleging breach of statutory duty by his employers.
Held: The Court of Appeal was in general bound to follow its own previous decisions. The court considered . .
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 . .
CitedKnauer v Ministry of Justice SC 24-Feb-2016
The court was asked: ‘whether the current approach to assessing the financial losses suffered by the dependant of a person who is wrongfully killed properly reflects the fundamental principle of full compensation, and if it does not whether we . .
CitedPatel and Others v Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 1-Jun-2012
Where a first instance judge is faced with a point on which there are two previous inconsistent decisions from judges of co-ordinate jurisdiction, then the second of those decisions should be followed in the absence of cogent reasons to the contrary . .
CitedCream Holdings Limited and others v Banerjee and others HL 14-Oct-2004
On her dismissal from the claimant company, Ms Banerjee took confidential papers revealing misconduct to the local newspaper, which published some. The claimant sought an injunction to prevent any further publication. The defendants argued that the . .
CitedFitzleet Estates Ltd v Cherry HL 9-Nov-1977
Income tax – Schedule D, Cases III and VI – Payments of interest and ground rent incurred when property was being developed – Whether capitalised or paid out of profits or gains brought into charge to tax – Income Tax Act 1952 (15 and 16 Geo. 6 and . .
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 . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedDavis v Johnson HL 2-Jan-1978
The court was asked to interpret the 1976 Act to see whether its protection extended to cohabitees as well as to wives. In doing so it had to look at practice in the Court of Appeal in having to follow precedent.
Held: The operation of the . .
CitedMercedes Benz Ag v Leiduck PC 24-Jul-1995
Mareva relief is not available against a foreigner outside the UK in order to support a court action abroad. A Mareva injunction is not itself a substantive relief and so was not available to support foreign proceedings. A freezing order has to be . .
CitedTai Hing Ltd v Liu Chong Hing Bank PC 1985
(Hong Kong) The relationship between banker and customer is principally a contractual one between debtor and creditor. As between the banker and his customer, the risk of loss through forgery of the customer’s signature falls on the banker unless . .
CitedNational Westminster Bank plc v Spectrum Plus Limited and others HL 30-Jun-2005
Former HL decision in Siebe Gorman overruled
The company had become insolvent. The bank had a debenture and claimed that its charge over the book debts had become a fixed charge. The preferential creditors said that the charge was a floating charge and that they took priority.
Held: The . .
CitedDoughty v Turner Ltd CA 1964
The cover on a cauldron of exceedingly hot molten sodium cyanide was accidentally knocked into the cauldron and the plaintiff was damaged by the resultant explosion.
Held: The plaintiff’s claim failed. The defendant employer owed a duty of . .
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).
Cited by:
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. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 January 2021; Ref: scu.567278