JA Pye (Oxford) Ltd v United Kingdom (44302/02)

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
JudgeLORD JUSTICE JUDGE,Lord Justice Judge
Judgment Date06 February 2001
Neutral Citation[2001] EWCA Civ 117
Docket NumberA2/01/1819
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Date06 February 2001

[2002] EWCA Civ 117




(MR W AYLEN QC sitting as a Deputy Judge of the Queen's Bench Division)


Lord Justice Judge


Colin Keathley Cornelius
The London Borough of Hackney

MR JOHN LLOYD acting pro bono on behalf of the Applicant.

The Respondent did not attend and was not represented.


On 26 October 2001 this application was removed from the list on the basis that the court's ADR scheme might help resolve the dispute between the parties. That has failed. I have read a bundle of correspondence. I cannot, and should not, enquire into the reasons why the ADR route failed. I mention that because Mr Cornelius has produced a further affidavit with a number of documents exhibited to it. If an ADR route fails, the court's jurisdiction is limited to deciding the issue before it.


There is a separate question that arises from the papers (assuming Mr Cornelius' account of events is right) about what he perceives as a very serious grievance about the conduct of the defendant's solicitors. Mr Cornelius applies for permission to appeal the order made by Mr Walter Aylen QC, sitting as Deputy High Court Judge, on 27 July 2001, striking out the amended statement of claim and ordering Mr Cornelius to pay the respondent's costs.


At the date of the hearing before Mr Aylen it now emerges that, contrary to what I had understood, Mr Cornelius was aware of the fact that a payment had been made into court. That is demonstrated by the contents of a letter dated 11 July 2001. But the later material from him shows his very real continuing concern that the solicitors acting for the local authority were (and I use the term quite deliberately to identify the sense of grievance) "playing ducks and drakes" with the civil justice system.


I shall allow that to have no influence on the decision I have to make, which is whether there is a realistic prospect of a successful appeal or whether any other compelling reason to allow the application has been established.


The writ was issued on 29 June 1998 and amended on 28 April 1999. The events with which this litigation is concerned go back much further. Many of the crucial facts occurred before June 1992. They are sufficiently summarised in paragraphs 1—10 of the statement of claim. I do not propose to read those out, but they form part of this judgment. The facts pleaded in those paragraphs all redound to Mr Cornelius' credit. He had exposed what he believed were corrupt irregularities, and for his pains was then dismissed; as was subsequently found, wrongfully dismissed.


As Mr Aylen himself put it, in summarising this part of the case, Mr Cornelius acted properly and was treated, possibly offensively, and certainly in breach of contract. Similarly, Tucker J, giving the judgment of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, said that the plaintiff was not motivated by self interest or any improper purpose. "His motive was to bring to justice what he perceived to be, and what the defendants now acknowledge have been, corrupt irregularities".


In his approach to the factual matters, Mr Aylen identified several potential causes of action. He dealt with them in turn. That was a more difficult exercise than it sounds. The pleadings were not always as clear as they might have been. The applicant had sought, and had been granted, a statutory remedy under the relevant employment legislation. His causes of action to be deduced from the pleadings were not always straightforward. In essence, the question is, what did the defendants do after June 1992 (within the relevant limitation period) for which the applicant would be entitled to a remedy at law, which was not already duplicated by the proceedings and award made to him by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, or as a consequence of its decision?


Grounds 10, 11 and 12 of the notice of appeal seem to me to take the argument no further. The rights identified in those paragraphs are not in issue. They present no particular difficulty. The short fact is that they either add nothing to the case if Mr Cornelius has one, and they do not make out a case for him if he does not have one.


Turning to the way in which Mr Aylen identified the causes of action, he first identified an allegation that the termination of the applicant's contract of employment was null and void. That point was no longer pursued before him. Even if it had been, it would have been held unarguable since the applicant had told Mr Aylen during the course of the hearing before him that he had accepted the repudiation of contract by the very fact of his proceedings before an Industrial Tribunal as a result of which he had received compensation.


A second cause of action...

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