Judge wins summary judgment against harassing litigant in High Court


Re: Oliver v Shaikh [2019] EWHC 3389 (QB)

In this case, the claimant is a judge of the Upper Tribunal. The defendant was a former trainee cardiac physiologist who had been dismissed by a hospital trust for gross misconduct and prohibited by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) from working with children or vulnerable adults. In 2014, the claimant chaired a UT panel that dismissed the defendant’s appeals against the DBS’s decisions.

In 2016, the claimant became aware of a website containing abusive and threatening material relating to him. He brought proceedings for an injunction against the defendant under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The claimant applied for the defendant’s defence to the claim and counterclaim to be struck out, and to be granted summary judgment and an order for a final injunction.

Held: The defence and counterclaim were struck out pursuant to all three limbs of CPR r.3.4(2). Neither the defence nor the counterclaim complied with the CPR. Although the defendant was unrepresented, that did not absolve him from the requirement to comply with the CPR and the pleading rules contained therein, Barton v Wright Hassall LLP [2018] UKSC 12 followed.

Summary judgment was entered as the defendant’s bare denial of the claim did not reach even the “fanciful” level of prospect of success. The evidence was overwhelming that he controlled the website and was the author of a great deal, if not all, of its content. It contained information that could only have been known to him at the time it was published. It also contained language that matched language used in documents known to have been written by him. Further, the defendant’s conduct clearly amounted to harassment of the claimant. It went far beyond anything that could be considered reasonable or fair comment, even allowing for the fact that a judge had to expect robust criticism of their work, and warranted a final injunction permanently restraining him from harassing the judge.

Ben Silverstone was involved in this case.

Please find judgment here.