Godstime Bassey Idnekpoma v Amazon UK Services Ltd

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeBruce Carr
Judgment Date15 June 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] EWHC 1418 (KB)
CourtKing's Bench Division
Docket NumberCase No: QB-2021-003315
Godstime Bassey Idnekpoma
Amazon UK Services Limited
First Defendant


PMP Recruitment Limited
Second Defendant/Respondent

[2023] EWHC 1418 (KB)


Bruce Carr KC

(Sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court)

Case No: QB-2021-003315



Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

The Claimant appeared in person

Alexander Robson (instructed by Hill Dickinson LLP) for the Second Defendant/Respondent

Hearing dates: 20 February 2023

Approved Judgment


Bruce Carr KC:


The Claimant first issued proceedings in August 2021 against Amazon UK Services Limited (“ Amazon”) and a Second Defendant, PMP Recruitment (“ PMP”) putting forward a variety of claims and seeking damages of £10,000,000 against Amazon and £2,000,000 against PMP. Both Defendants filed Defences in which they resisted the Claimant's claims. As part of its Defence, PMP asserted that it had had no dealings with the Claimant and that he had, in effect, sued the wrong legal entity. Both Defendants also sought to strike out the claims and/or to have summary judgment entered in their favour.


Amazon's strike out application was issued on 31 January 2022 and PMP's on 2 February 2022. Proceedings against the latter were however resolved under the terms of a compromise agreement. On 19 August 2022, the Claimant and PMP entered into such an agreement pursuant to which the latter would pay to the former the sum of £5,000 in consideration of the Claimant signing a consent order. The consent order was duly signed and then sealed on 24 August 2022. Pursuant to its terms, the Claimant's claim against PMP was dismissed with no order as to costs.


Amazon's application to dismiss the proceedings was heard by me on 31 October – 1 November 2022. I handed down Judgment on that application on 25 November 2022 and ordered that the claims against Amazon be struck out under CPR3.4. I also ordered that the Claimant should provide written representations as to why a civil restraint order (“ CRO”) should not be made against him and as to why he should not be ordered to pay the costs of the hearing before me.


In what appears to have been a direct response to his claims having been dismissed against Amazon, the Claimant sought to have the consent order which had been made in relation to PMP set aside and for them to be reinstated into these proceedings as Second Defendant. His application notice is dated 9 December 2022 but was originally filed on 27 November, just 2 days after I handed down the judgment referred to above and is put on the following grounds:

“I entered an agreement subject to contract but a contract was never finalised. I was induced into the agreement by misrepresentation that the defendant was not the right defendant but this is not the case. The consent order should be set aside because the agreement is not yet finalised to be legally binding, and I was acting under duress of being scared of having to pay the cost of defendant because the claimed there were the wrong entity which is not the case. They are the right defendant.”

PMP's response


On 15 December 2022, Jack Lewis, solicitor at Hill Dickinson LLP, solicitors for PMP, filed a witness statement in response to the Claimant's application. He identified PMP as having the company number 08030122. In his statement he maintained the position that had originally been set out in PMP's Defence in these proceedings, namely that the entity with which the Claimant had previously dealt (and to whom any claim would have needed to have been directed) was a company known as PRL Realisations Limited which had the company number 03485614 and which had formerly been known as PMP Recruitment Limited. For ease of reference, I will refer to this company as “ PRL”. Mr Lewis also asserts that there had been no misrepresentation to the Claimant with regard to the terms under which the claims against PMP had been compromised and that the Claimant had not been the victim of any deception or duress in agreeing to such a compromise. Exhibited to Mr Lewis' statement at Schedule 1, was a “Chronological Table Showing Company Names” from which it could be seen that:

i) PRL had previously been known as PMP recruitment up until a change of name in April 2020 to become “PRL Realisations 1 Limited”; and

ii) PMP had previously been known as “Cordant Recruitment Limited” until it had changed its name to “PMP Recruitment Limited” with effect from 30 July 2021.


Given that the Claimant's claims related to a period of engagement with Amazon from September to December 2018, on the face of it, any contractual or other claim would fall during the period in which PRL were trading under the company name “PMP Recruitment Limited” and before PMP took on that name from July 2021.

The Claimant's witness statement and additional application notice both dated 24 December 2022


In his witness statement in reply, the Claimant said that he had entered into the compromise agreement with TMP at a time when he was suffering from anxiety and depression and that PMP had taken advantage of him. He also claimed that his employment with PMP had been a “scam” and that the court should examine his case “from the perspective of a confused victim of employment scam and approve my application to revoke or set aside the consent order and reinstate the second defendant in the claims against it.”


On the same day, the Claimant issued a further application notice seeking to add to the proceedings, two further companies “Challenge TRG Recruitment Limited” (“ Challenge”) and “Challenge TRG Recruitment Group Limited”. The basis on which he made the application was that he said that he had “evidence they are claiming to be formally known as pmp recruitment.” He also stated that their inclusion was necessary “in order to eliminate…confusion.”

Claimant's witness statement dated 6 February 2023


In this statement, and notwithstanding the fact that I had dismissed his claims against Amazon following the hearing in October 2022, the Claimant continued to assert that he had been “the victim of an employment scam that Amazon UK Service Limited had admitted was initiated by its agent PMP” and that he had been “deceived into Amazon warehouse with false promises of a permanent job”. He continued to assert that PMP should be a party to the proceedings and that Challenge should also be added as a Defendant.

PMP's Skeleton Argument


The Claimant's application was then listed before me on 20 February 2023. In advance of the hearing, PMP provided a Skeleton Argument repeating its assertion that the claims against it had been irrevocably compromised and that the terms of the agreement had been finalised and were legally binding. It also denied any negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation or any duress. As to the application to add further parties, PMP claimed that there were in fact no extant proceedings to which they could be added and, in any event, no other basis on which this might be ordered.

Mr Lewis' second witness statement dated 14 February 2023


Mr Lewis, on behalf of PMP provided a second witness statement dated 14 February 2023. In that statement he dealt with the connection between PMP and Challenge and stated that the business and assets of PMP had been transferred to Challenge with an effective date of 18 November 2022, following which PMP had been placed in administration. He also stated that the transfer from PMP to Challenge only covered contracts and staff with the consequence that any contingent liability in respect of the Claimant's claims would remain with PMP. He added that, contrary to the Claimant's claims, Challenge had never “claimed to be” PMP and that it had never had any contractual or other legal relationship with the Claimant.

Legal Framework


In his Skeleton Argument served on behalf of PMP, Mr Robson has helpfully summarised the relevant law by reference to the summary set out by Mr Nigel Cooper KC, Deputy High Court Judge, in Instagroup Limited v David Carroll & Others [2022] EWH 464 (QB) as follows:

“Economic duress

70. The principles relating to economic duress are to be found in Times Travel (UK) Ltd v. Pakistan International Airlines Corpn [2021] 3 WLR 727 at [1], [78] – [80], [97] – [99] and [136]. In order to establish economic duress, it is necessary to establish the following elements:

i) The making of an illegitimate (albeit lawful) threat by one party;

ii) Sufficient causation between the threat and the threatened party entering into the contract or making the non-contractual threat; and

iii) The lack of any reasonable alternative to the threatened party giving into the threat.

71. The illegitimacy of a threat is to be determined by focusing on the nature and justification of the demand made by the threatening party having regard to, among other things, the behaviour of the threatening party (including the pressure it applied) and the circumstances of the threatened party. The law generally accepts that the pursuit of commercial self-interest is justified in commercial bargaining and a demand which is motivated by commercial self-interest will in general be justified. A threat will be illegitimate if it amounts to reprehensible or unconscionable conduct, which in the context of the equitable doctrine of undue influence has been judged to render the enforcement of a contract unconscionable.



73. A misrepresentation, which would justify rescission of a contract can also be used as a defence to an action brought by the representor against the representee. A contract can be rescinded for both negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation. For both forms of misrepresentation, the person seeking to rescind a contract must establish:

i) A statement...

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