Williamson v The Bishop of London and Others [2022] EAT 118

Appeal against decision in ET that proceedings were a nullity as the claimant was subject to a CPO and the High Court could not give permission retrospectively.

The claimant had been subject to the Civil Procedure Order (“CPO”) since 1997. In these proceedings he wished to bring age discrimination claims and it was not argued that they were vexatious. His ET was submitted before seeking permission. When the CPO was raised by the respondents the claimant sought retrospective permission from the High Court. This was granted partly because the claimant had not been involved in any litigation since the order was made. The order provided two alternatives: 1. granted the claimant permission to pursue the existing proceedings; in the alternative, 2. granted him permission to issue proceedings in the ET. When the matter returned to the ET, however, it was ruled that paragraph 1. of the order could be of no effect as it was not possible to give retrospective permission under the terms of a CPO,

The President, Mrs Justice Eady, rejected the claimant’s appeal against that decision. She reviews the relevant case law, including AG v Edwards, which she finds to be correctly decided, and the relevant provisions of the Senior Courts Act before stating at [73]

“the imposition of a CPO recognises that there is an additional need to protect the resources of courts and tribunals against those who are properly to be described as vexatious: they are not to be troubled by such litigants unless leave has been given for the particular proceedings in question by the High Court. Thus, to point to the jurisdictional basis for the claimant’s claim of age discrimination, and the ET’s power to determine such a claim, does not address the prior barrier that the claimant must overcome in order to bring such a claim, as imposed by the CPO to which he is subject A CPO attaches to the would-be litigant, not to the individual proceedings that they might seek to bring.”


Published: 20/08/2022 13:19

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