Williams v Hull: ChD 19 Nov 2009

The parties had bought a house together, but disputed the shares on which it was held. The appeal was on the basis that a without prejudice letter had been redacte and then wrongly admitted as not in fact without prejudice, an as an unambiguous impropriety. In the claim Mr Hull sought 50%, but in the letter offered to accept a lower proportion.
Held: The letter should not have been admitted. It was properly part of a negotiating process, and was more than a mere assertion of rights. It was suggested that the contents of the letter suggested admission of facts which Mr Hull contradicted in court. However any possible impropriety could only be established in cross examination. It was not unambiguous, and expressly did not make any assertion of fraud. The letter should not have been admitted.
Arnold J
[2009] EWHC 2844 (Ch)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSouth Shropshire District Council v Amos CA 1986
Lord Justice Parker said that the use of the words ‘without prejudice’ prima facie meant that a letter was intended to be a part of negotiation. A letter which purported to initiate some sort of negotiation (‘an opening shot’) is not necessarily . .
CitedRush and Tompkins Ltd v Greater London Council and Another HL 1988
Use of ‘Without Prejudice Save as to Costs”
A sub-contractor sought payment from the appellants under a construction contract for additional expenses incurred through disruption and delay. The appellants said they were liable to pay the costs, and were entitled to re-imbursement from the . .
CitedBradford and Bingley Plc v Rashid HL 12-Jul-2006
Disapplication of Without Prejudice Rules
The House was asked whether a letter sent during without prejudice negotiations which acknowledged a debt was admissible to restart the limitation period. An advice centre, acting for the borrower had written, in answer to a claim by the lender for . .
CitedSchering Corporation v CIPLA Ltd and Another ChD 10-Nov-2004
The defendants appealed against a refusal to strike out the patent infringement proceedings issued by the claimant, saying the only evidence offered was a letter written by the defendants which was headed ‘without prejudice’.
Held: The . .
CitedBuckinghamshire County Council v Moran CA 13-Feb-1989
The parties’ respective properties were separated by a fence or hedge and the true owner had no access to the disputed land. In 1967 the Defendants’ predecessors in title began to maintain the land by mowing the grass and trimming the hedges and . .
CitedSavings and Investment Bank Ltd (In Liquidation) v Fincken CA 14-Nov-2003
Parties to litigation had made without prejudice disclosures. One party sought to give evidence contradicting the dsclosure, and the other now applied for leave to amend based upon the without prejudice statements to be admitted to demonstrate the . .
CitedBerry Trade Ltd and Another v Moussavi and others CA 22-May-2003
A defendant appealed against an order admitting as evidence, records of ‘without prejudice’ conversations.
Held: Written and oral communications, which are made for the purpose of a genuine attempt to compromise a dispute between the parties, . .
CitedUnilever plc v Procter and Gamble Company CA 4-Nov-1999
The defendant’s negotiators had asserted in an expressly ‘without prejudice’ meeting, that the plaintiff was infringing its patent and they threatened to bring an action for infringement. The plaintiff sought to bring a threat action under section . .

Cited by:
CitedAvonwick Holdings Ltd v Webinvest Ltd and Another ChD 10-Oct-2014
Application by the claimant that certain correspondence between the parties and their solicitors in April-May 2014 should be admissible as evidence, notwithstanding that most of it was headed ‘without prejudice and subject to contract’. The . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 March 2021; Ref: scu.380335