Limited Civil Restraint Orders

AuthorDavid Giles/Maurice Rifat
Pages53-64

Chapter 3


LIMITED CIVIL RESTRAINT ORDERS

3.1 Rule 3.11 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides that a practice direction may set out the circumstances in which the court has the power to make a civil restraint order against a party to proceedings; the procedure where a party applies for a civil restraint order against another party; and the consequences of the court making a civil restraint order.

3.2 The relevant practice direction is Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules, and applies where the court is considering whether to make a limited civil restraint order, an extended civil restraint order or a general civil restraint order, against a party who has issued claims or made applications which are totally without merit.

3.3 Limited civil restraint orders are dealt with in paragraph 2 of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules, which provides that a limited civil restraint order may be made by a judge of any court where a party has made two or more applications which are totally without merit.

3.4 Rules 3.3(7), 3.4(6) and 23.12 of the Civil Procedure Rules provide that where a statement of case or application is struck out or dismissed and is totally without merit, the court order must specify that fact and must also consider whether to make a civil restraint order. A similar provision applies in relation to the appeal court which dismisses an application for permission to appeal or an appeal or strikes out an appellant’s notice.1

3.5 The effect of a limited civil restraint order is that the party against whom the order is made will be restrained from making any further

1 CPR rule 52.10(6).

54 Vexatious Litigants and Civil Restraint Orders

applications in the proceedings in which the order is made without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order.2

3.6 The party against whom the order is made may apply for amendment or discharge of the order provided he or she has first obtained the permission of a judge identified in the order and may apply for permission to appeal the order and, if permission is granted, may appeal the order.3

3.7 However, where a party who is subject to a limited civil restraint order makes a further application in the proceedings in which the order is made without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order, such application will automatically be dismissed without the judge having to make any further order and without the need for the other party to respond to it.4

3.8 Where the party against whom the order is made repeatedly makes applications for permission pursuant to that order which are totally without merit, the court may direct that, if the party makes any further applications for permission which are totally without merit, the decision to dismiss the application will be final and there will be no right of appeal, unless the judge who refused permission grants permission to appeal.5

3.9 An order under paragraph 2.3(2) of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules may only be made by a Court of Appeal judge or a High Court judge or master; or a designated civil judge or his appointed deputy.6

3.10 A party who is subject to a limited civil restraint order may not make an application for permission to make further applications in the proceedings in which the order was made or to amend or discharge the order or for permission under paragraph 2.3(2) of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules, without first serving notice of the application on the other party in accordance with paragraph 2.5.

2 CPR PD 3C, para 2.2(1).

3 CPR PD 3C, para 2.2(2).

4 CPR PD 3C, para 2.3(1).

5 CPR PD 3C, para 2.3(2).

6 CPR PD 3C, para 2.7.

3.11 By paragraph 2.5 of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules, the notice of the application to be served on the other party must set out the nature and grounds of the application and provide the other party with at least 7 days within which to respond.

3.12 In addition to serving notice on the other party to the application, the application for permission under paragraph 2.2(1) or (2) of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules must be made in writing, must include the other party’s written response, if any, to the notice of the application and will be determined without a hearing.7

3.13 Paragraph 2.8 of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules states that where a party makes an application for permission under paragraph 2.2(1) or (2) and permission is refused, any application for permission to appeal must be made in writing and will be determined without a hearing.

3.14 Paragraph 2.9 of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules states that a limited civil restraint order is limited to the particular proceedings in which it is made, will remain in effect for the duration of the proceedings in which it is made, unless the court otherwise orders, and must identify the judge or judges to whom an application for permission under paragraphs 2.2(1), 2.2(2) or 2.8 should be made.

3.15 Paragraph 5 of Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules is of general application to civil restraint orders and states that the other party or parties to the proceedings may apply for any civil restraint order and such application under paragraph 5 must be made using the procedure set out in Part 23 unless the court otherwise directs and the application must specify which type of civil restraint order is sought.

3.16 Examples of a limited civil restraint order, an extended civil restraint order and a general civil restraint order are annexed to Practice Direction 3C of the Civil Procedure Rules. These examples may be modified as appropriate in any particular case.8

7 CPR PD 3C, para 2.8.

8 See for example...

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