Police Law Blog European Decisions Statutory Materials

Abuse of process – boiling down to a fair trial

A very long judgment in Marsh v MoJ [2017] EWHC 1040 (QB) deals with a employee’s personal injury claim arising from his employer’s misconduct investigation into him. The final part, however, addressed (very briefly) an abuse of process application, where it was contended that the Defendant’s solicitor acted with an excess of zeal when dealing with witnesses and/or that she was too close to the case.

Of this, the judge, Thirlwall LJ (sitting as a High Court judge), stated: [emphasis added]

“293. Although I was referred to a large number of authorities by the claimant and to a number of recent authorities dealing with the striking out of statements of case by the defendant, the issue boils down to this, given that there is no assertion of bad faith: has the defendant’s conduct prevented there from being a fair trial? Only if the answer to that is yes should I go on to consider whether to dismiss the defence as an abuse of the process of the court.”

In the event, the application was dismissed, the judge holding that the trial process had been effective in securing a fair hearing:

“294. I am quite satisfied that the defendant’s conduct has not prevented a fair trial as the judgment demonstrates. There has been no injustice. The process of the court has not been abused. On the contrary it has been effective in achieving a fair trial.”