Karim -v- Underwood [2014] EWCA

Karim -v– Charkham [2014] EWHC 497 (Admin)
Extended Civil Restraint Order Against a Former Solicitor

K was a former solicitor who borrowed £580,000 by way of a secured bridging loan from W to pay off mounting debts. No repayments were made as required by the terms of the loan and W appointed Law of Property Act Receivers and the secured property was then sold at auction.

K then made applications to the Land Registry seeking to challenge the validity of the original loan and charge agreement in order to prevent completion of the auction contract and a transfer of the property. W commenced proceedings with the aim of completing the sale made and auction and requiring the transfer to the purchaser to be registered and obtained orders leading to this in a claim firstly from Norris J and then from Asplin J. K continued to defend W’s claim and also pursued a counterclaim challenging the validity of the loan and charge and seeking other relief by way of a counterclaim within those proceedings.

However K sought permission to appeal the order of Asplin J and also issued a further stand alone High Court claim arising out of the same facts. This further claim was struck out. Lewsion LJ refused K permission to appeal on paper and Briggs LJ later refused permission at an oral hearing and concluded that the application for permission to appeal was without merit.

After disclosure K made applications seeking to vary the order of Asplin J and for specific disclosure which were both found to be without merit and a Limited Civil Restraint Order was made in the original proceedings.

K also issued a further (third) High Court Claim again challenging the validity of the loan, charge and auction sale. This claim made un-particularised allegations of fraud and conspiracy in the arrangement leading to the loan and charge, the auction and the assignment of the auction contract to the ultimate purchaser. She included the successful bidder at the auction and W’s solicitor to this claim and alleged that they were both part of a conspiracy to deprive her of her property and to mislead the courts to do so.

Unsurprisingly all of the Defendants applies to strike out this further claim and sought an Extended Civil Restraint Order against K.

Griffith Williams J struck out the claim as having no reasonable grounds and being an abuse of the process. He was particularly critical of joining W’s solicitor to the claim by way of unfounded allegations and determined that the claim was clear evidence of harassment of the Defendants. The further applications and proceedings were evidence that K had sought to use the procedures of there Court unsuccessfully and without proper grounds to delay the resolution of the underlying issues. He stated:

“I have identified in the course of this judgment a number of matters which establish a history of indifference to court orders. On any objective assessment, it should have been readily apparent to [K] …that the third claim was no more than a re-working of her earlier claims and raised no issue which would and could not be considered in the existing proceedings.”

As a result an Extended Civil Restraint Order was made against K for a period of 2 years preventing her from making any further claim.

Russell Stone represented the Defendants against K instructed by Jaswal Johnston LLP.