Ebert v Official Receiver (No.2)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
JudgeLord Justice Buxton
Judgment Date14 March 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] EWCA Civ 340
Docket NumberCase No: 2001/0430

[2001] EWCA Civ 340

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

CHANCERY DIVISION

MR JUSTICE NEUBERGER

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Before:

Lord Justice Chadwick and

Lord Justice Buxton

Case No: 2001/0430

Gedaljahu Ebert
Applicant
and
The Official Receiver & Others

The Applicant appeared in person

Lord Justice Buxton
1

We heard this application for permission to appeal on 20 February 200At the conclusion of the hearing we gave our reasons why the application should be dismissed. We indicated, however, that we took the view that there was a further point which had been raised by the judge below; and which we thought it appropriate that we should address. We said that we would take time to consider the point, and to deliver judgment on it in writing. That we now do. This, therefore, is the judgment of the court on the application for permission to appeal.

2

The applicant, Mr Ebert, is the subject of a civil proceedings order under section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981. He made a substantive application to Neuberger J which the judge refused, and in respect of which he refused permission to appeal to this court: that was the matter dealt with in the earlier parts of our judgment. Mr Ebert then wished to apply to this court for that permission. In order to do that, however, he required the leave of the judge under section 42(3) of the 1981 Act. The judge was not minded to grant that leave. However, on that point Mr Ebert made a submission to him that related to the position under the Human Rights Act 1998. Of that, the judge said:

"Mr Ebert has raised the point that if I refuse him permission to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal my decision, then he has no access to the Court of Appeal because he is a vexatious litigant. He says that is contrary to his human rights. I strongly suspect that there is nothing in the point at all. Part of the purpose of making somebody a vexatious litigant is to stop the courts being bothered with hopeless applications to the full extent possible consistent with that person's right of access to the courts.

I have not studied the law on this topic, but it seems to me that the correct course for me to take is to permit Mr Ebert to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal my wholesale rejection of today's application simply on the basis that, although I think there is no ground for me to give permission to appeal, the Court of Appeal may want to consider, on an application for permission to appeal, whether in fact it is contrary to Mr Ebert's human rights for me to be able to shut him out from seeking permission to appeal because he is a vexatious litigant."

3

Like the judge, we were strongly of the opinion that there was nothing in Mr Ebert's complaint that the judge was precluded, on human rights grounds, from refusing leave under the vexatious litigant provisions to make an application for permission to appeal to this court. The issue does not directly arise in the present appeal, because Mr Ebert was given leave by the judge to apply to this court for permission to appeal. However, as we have already indicated, we thought that we should nonetheless answer the question raised by the judge as to the position under the vexatious litigant provisions, and that we should take time to reflect on the matter. That is not least because this point is likely to arise unforeseen and in unclear terms, as it did before the judge, and we think that guidance on it may be found helpful. We set out our conclusions in a series of paragraphs. It may assist in reading those paragraphs if we say that we use the word "leave" to refer to the leave required or granted under section 42 of the 1981 Act, and "permission" to refer to permissions to appeal to this court.

4

Where a vexatious litigant has (with leave) pursued a case or application in the court below, and has been unsuccessful, it is, in the first instance, for the judge to consider any application for permission to appeal. Whilst, strictly speaking, the vexatious litigant needs leave even to make that further application, no doubt that issue will normally be subsumed...

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15 cases
  • Bhamjee v Forsdick and Others
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 25 July 2003
    ...particular proceedings (paras 39–40), to the more restrictive remedies discussed in paras 41–52. These include what was formally known as an Ebert order (now renamed an extended civil restraint order) by which a court may also restrain the litigant's activities in relation to other litigati......
  • Re Terence Patrick Ewingthe Claimant Appeared in Person
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 20 December 2002
    ...established as conforming with the European Convention on Human Rights: see Application 11559/85 H v UK (1985) 45 D&R 281; Ebert v Official Receiver 2002 1WLR 320; 2001 EWCA Civ 340). Parliament has chosen not to extend such fetter to proceedings in tribunals. There are many bodies or ......
  • Ewing (Terence Patrick) v News International Ltd & others
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division
    • 22 July 2008
    ...42 (and/or the defendants' interpretation thereof), was contrary to his human rights. I emphatically reject that submission. In Ebert v Official Receiver [2002] 1 WLR 320, the Court of Appeal set out a number of cases, including some of the Strasbourg jurisprudence, which made plain that th......
  • Ewing v Security Service
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 30 July 2003
    ...first place, the Section 42 regime was approved as conforming with the Convention in application 11559/85 H v United Kingdom and Ebert v Official Receiver [2002] 1 WLR 320. It follows that Section 22 need not be interpreted in the way suggested by Mr Ewing. As to accessibility and ease of u......
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