Setting aside orders on the grounds of solicitor misconduct (Court of Appeal)

By 2016-09-13 Changes in the law

In refusing an application for permission to appeal a decision to set aside two earlier court orders, Jackson LJ has given guidance on the court’s power to vary or revoke an order under CPR 3.1(7).

He refused permission to appeal an earlier decision to set aside two orders because of misconduct by the defendant’s solicitor, finding that the judge had not erred in applying the test in Tibbles v SIG plc (t/a Asphaltic Roofing Supplies) [2012] EWCA Civ 518. The facts of this case were so exceptional that the court should set aside the orders under CPR 3.1(7) even if the requirements in Tibbles were not precisely met.

Jackson LJ emphasised that the courts must be slow to set aside an order against a party because of misconduct by that party’s legal representatives. However, the judge had found that the defendant’s solicitor’s fraudulent conduct had had an impact on the orders. It was not the Court of Appeal’s function to second guess those factual findings unless there was an error of law that called for correction.

Case: Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (Bahamas) Ltd v Symphony Gems NV [2016] EWCA Civ 636.

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Gemma Baldock

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