Wednesday Law Report: 28 April 1999 - Jurisdiction to prevent anticipated proceedings

Ebert v Birch and another: Ebert v Vanvil and another Court of Appeal (Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Otton and Lord Justice Aldous) 30 March 1999

THE HIGH Court had power under the inherent jurisdiction to make orders restraining vexatious proceedings which were anticipated but not yet initiated, not only in the High Court but also in the county court.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals of Gedaljahu Ebert against orders restraining him from making further applications in certain proceedings.

The appellant had brought a series of vexatious proceedings against his trustee in bankruptcy and Mr Rolf Wolff, and against the liquidator of Europride Ltd and the Midland Bank plc. As a result, the Attorney General had, on 4 December 1998, instituted proceedings against him under section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981. Those proceedings were yet to be heard.

The appellant appealed against two orders of Neuberger J dated 7 July 1998 and 23 October 1998 restraining him from making further applications in the current proceedings. On the appeals the issue arose, inter alia, whether the court had jurisdiction in appropriate circumstances to make Grepe v Loam orders prohibiting new proceedings being commenced without the leave of the court and, if so, whether the orders could prohibit county court proceedings as well as High Court proceedings.

The appellant appeared in person; Paul Emerson (Carter Backer Winter) for the trustee in bankruptcy; Robert Hantusch (Teacher Stern & Selby) for Mr Wolff; Gilead Cooper (Ince & Co) for Mr Rabinowitz as intervenor; Andrew Mitchell (Eversheds) for the Midland Bank plc; Ian Burnett QC (Treasury Solicitor) as amicus curiae.

Lord Woolf MR said that, notwithstanding the statutory power in section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 to make an order on the application of the Attorney General to prevent the initiation of proceedings without the leave of the High Court, the inherent jurisdiction of the court remained. It was however more restricted than the statutory power.

When approaching the question whether the inherent jurisdiction permitted the making of orders in the wider form permitted under statute, the starting point had to be the extensive nature of the inherent jurisdiction of any court to prevent its procedure being abused. There was no reason why, absent the intervention of a statute cutting down the jurisdiction, that jurisdiction should apply only in relation to existing proceedings and not to vexatious proceedings which were manifestly threatened but not yet initiated.

The court could and did grant injunctions to stay specific anticipated proceedings both in the English courts and abroad. Where the injunction was in relation to foreign proceedings, the jurisdiction was not exercised by interfering with the foreign court. Instead, the injunction was granted against an individual and was enforceable personally against that individual. The ability of the court to operate in that way when the proceedings were only anticipated was no more than an example of the court being prepared to protect an applicant from anticipated damage when that damage was sufficiently imminent and serious.

The court undoubtedly had the power to stay or strike out vexatious proceedings when they were commenced, and there was no reason in principle why it should not also, in accord with the general approach to the granting of quia timet injunctions, exercise that power to prevent the serious loss that anticipated but unidentified proceedings could cause the defendants to those proceedings.

If the court had jurisdiction to make an order in relation to proceedings anticipated but not yet intiated in the High Court, there was no doubt that the High Court had power to make such an order in relation to the county court as well. The county court would give effect to a High Court order in the same way as it would give effect to a county court order.

It would be absurd today when there was a process of merger between the High Court and the county court if it were necessary for a separate order to be made in the county court.

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam