Picot (T A) (CI) Ltd v Michel Crill & Hamon (practising as Crills)

JurisdictionJersey
CourtRoyal Court
JudgeLe Quesne, Blom-Cooper and Frossard, JJ.A.:
Judgment Date17 February 1995
Date17 February 1995
COURT OF APPEAL
Le Quesne, Blom-Cooper and Frossard, JJ.A.:

W.J. Bailhache for the appellants;

J.G. White for the respondent.

Cases cited:

(1) Abbott v. R., [1977] A.C. 755 ([1976] UKPC 19); [1976] 3 All E.R. 140; [1976] Crim. L.R. 563; (1976), 63 Cr. App. R. 241; 140 J.P. 567; 120 Sol. Jo. 538.

(2) Bolam v. Friern Hosp. Management Cttee., [1957] 1 W.L.R. 582; [1957] 2 All E.R. 118; (1957), 101 Sol. Jo. 357.

(3) C (a minor) v. D.P.P., [1994] 3 All E.R. 190; [1995] 1 Cr. App. R. 118; [1994] RTR 341; on appeal, [1995] 2 All E.R. 43; [1995] 2 Cr. App. R. 166; [1995] RTR 261, dicta of Laws, J. considered.

(4) Chester v. Bateson, [1920] 1 K.B. 829; (1920), 122 L.T. 684; 36 T.L.R. 225; 89 L.J.K.B. 387; 26 Cox, C.C. 591.

(5) D.P.P. (N. Ireland) v. Lynch, [1975] A.C. 653; [1975] 1 All E.R. 913; [1975] Crim. L.R. 707; [1975] N.I. 35; (1975), 61 Cr. App. R. 6; 139 J.P. 312; 119 Sol. Jo. 233, considered.

(6) Dyson v. Att.-Gen., [1911] 1 K.B. 410; (1910), 103 L.T. 707; 27 T.L.R. 143; 80 L.J.K.B. 531; 55 Sol. Jo. 168, dicta of Fletcher Moulton, L.J. applied.

(7) F (Mental Patient: Sterilization), In re, [1990] 2 A.C. 1; [1989] 2 FLR 376; (1989), 19 Fam. Law 390; 133 Sol. Jo. 785; sub nom. F v. West Berkshire Health Auth., [1989] 2 All E.R. 545.

(8) Fell v. Brown (1791), Peake 131; 170 E.R. 104.

(9) Giannarelli v. Wraith (1988), 81 Aust. L.R. 417; 165 C.L.R. 543; 62 ALJR 611; 35 A Crim R 1, dicta of Deane, J. considered.

(10) Hedley Byrne & Co. Ltd. v. Heller & Partners Ltd., [1964] A.C. 465; [1963] 2 All E.R. 575; [1963] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 485; (1963), 107 Sol. Jo. 454.

(11) Hourihane v. Metropolitan Police Commr., [1994] T.L.R. 674, dictum of Bingham, M.R. applied.

(12) Hubbuck & Sons Ltd. v. Wilkinson, Heywood & Clarke Ltd., [1899] 1 Q.B. 86; [1895-99] All E.R. Rep. 244; 79 L.T. 429; 15 T.L.R. 29; 68 L.J.Q.B. 34; 43 Sol. Jo. 41, applied.

(13) Kumar v. Police, English Court of Appeal, January 31st, 1995, unreported.

(14) M v. Newham London B.C., [1995] 2 A.C. 633; [1994] 4 All E.R. 602; [1994] 1 FLR 431; (1994), 92 L.G.R. 427; on appeal, sub nom. X (minors) v. Bedfordshire County Council, [1995] 2 A.C. 633; [1995] 3 All E.R. 353.

(15) Macrae (née Tudhope) v. Jersey Golf Hotels Ltd., 1973 J.J. 2313.

(16) Maynard v. West Midlands Regional Health Auth., [1984] 1 W.L.R. 634; [1985] 1 All E.R. 635; (1983), 128 Sol. Jo. 317.

(17) Miliangos v. George Frank Textiles Ltd., [1976] A.C. 443; [1975] 3 All E.R. 801; [1976] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 201; (1975), 119 Sol. Jo. 774, considered.

(18) Mitchell (née Bird) v. Dido Invs. Ltd., 1987-88 JLR 293.

(19) Pater, Ex p. (1864), 9 Cox, C.C. 544; 122 E.R. 842.

(20) Paul (R. & W.) Ltd. v. Wheat Commn., [1937] A.C. 139; [1936] 2 All E.R. 1243; (1936), 155 L.T. 305; 52 T.L.R. 702; 105 L.J.K.B. 563; 80 Sol. Jo. 753.

(21) Practice Direction (Case Management) (Civil), [1995] T.L.R. 21.

(22) R. v. Clegg, [1995] 1 A.C. 482; [1995] 1 All E.R. 334; [1995] 1 Cr. App. R. 507, dictum of Lord Lloyd of Berwick considered.

(23) R. v. Howe, [1987] A.C. 417; [1987] 1 All E.R. 771; [1987] Crim. L.R. 480; (1987), 85 Cr. App. R. 32; 151 J.P. 265; 131 Sol. Jo. 258.

(24) R. v. R (Rape: Marital Exemption), [1992] 1 A.C. 599; [1991] 4 All E.R. 481; [1992] FLR 217; [1992] Crim. L.R. 207; (1991), 94 Cr. App. R. 216; 22 Fam. Law 108; 155 J.P. 989; 155 J.P. Jo. 752; 135 Sol. Jo. (L.B.) 181, considered.

(25) Raymond v. Honey, [1983] 1 A.C. 1; [1982] 1 All E.R. 756; (1982), 75 Cr. App. R. 16; 126 Sol. Jo. 188.

(26) Rees v. Sinclair, [1974] 1 N.Z.L.R. 180, applied.

(27) Ridehalgh v. Horsefield, [1994] Ch. 205; [1994] 3 All E.R. 848, dicta of Bingham, M.R. considered.

(28) Rondel v. Worsley, [1969] 1 A.C. 191; [1967] 3 All E.R. 993; (1967), 111 Sol. Jo. 927, considered.

(29) Roy v. Prior, [1970] 1 Q.B. 283; [1969] 3 All E.R. 1153; (1969), 113 Sol. Jo. 609; on appeal, [1971] A.C. 470; [1970] 2 All E.R. 729; (1970), 134 J.P. 615; 114 Sol. Jo. 552, considered.

(30) Saif Ali v. Sydney Mitchell & Co., [1980] A.C. 198; [1978] 3 All E.R. 1033; (1978), 122 Sol. Jo. 761, considered.

(31) Schorsch Meier G.m.b.H. v. Hennin, [1975] Q.B. 416; [1975] 1 All E.R. 152; [1975] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 1; [1975] 1 C.M.L.R. 20; (1974), 118 Sol. Jo. 881, considered.

(32) Shaw v. D.P.P., [1962] A.C. 220; [1961] 2 All E.R. 446; (1961), 45 Cr. App. R. 113; 125 J.P. 437; 105 Sol. Jo. 421, dictum of Lord Reid considered.

(33) Sidaway v. Bethlem Royal Hosp. Governors, [1985] A.C. 871; [1985] 1 All E.R. 643; (1985), 129 Sol. Jo. 154.

(34) Spring v. Guardian Assur. PLC, [1995] 2 A.C. 296; [1995] 3 All E.R. 129; [1994] I.C.R. 596; [1994] I.R.L.R. 460; (1994), 138 Sol. Jo. (L.B.) 183, dicta of Lord Lowry considered.

(35) Torrell v. Pickersgill & Le Cornu, 1987-88 JLR 702; affirmed, Court of Appeal, June 30th, 1994, unreported, considered.

(36) Whitehouse v. Jordan, [1981] 1 W.L.R. 246; [1981] 1 All E.R. 267; (1980), 125 Sol. Jo. 167.

Additional cases cited by counsel:

Arya Holdings Ltd. v. Minories Fin. Ltd., 1991 JLR N-2.

Banks v. Reid (1977), 81 D.L.R. (3d) 730.

D'Allain v. Le Breton (1857), 14 E.R. 619.

Demarco v. Ungaro (1979), 95 D.L.R. (3d) 385.

Evans v. London Hosp. Medical College, [1981] 1 All E.R. 715.

Hadmor Prods. Ltd. v. Hamilton, [1982] 1 All ER 1042.

McIlkenny v. Chief Const. of W. Midlands Police Force, [1980] 2 All E.R. 227.

Ogden, In re, 1992 JLR 106.

Somasundaram v. M. Julius Melchior & Co., [1988] 1 W.L.R. 1394.

Wechsel v. Stutz (1990), 15 C.C.L.T. 132.

Legislation construed:

Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (c.41), s.62: The relevant terms of this section are set out at page 58, lines 6-16.

Supreme Court Act 1981 (c.54), s.51, as substituted by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, s.4: The relevant terms of this section are set out at page 56, lines 16-30.

Texts cited:

Atlay, The Tichborne Case, at 229 (1916).

Frank, Courts on Trial (1949).

Jackson & Powell on Professional Negligence, 3rd ed., para. 5-13, at 434-435 (1992).

Advocates—immunity from suit—litigation and pre-trial work—advocate immune from suit regarding conduct in court and pre-trial work so intimately connected that amounts to preliminary decision affecting presentation in court—immunity no wider than absolutely necessary for administration of justice

Estoppel—chose jugée—scope of doctrine—although no collateral attack on subsisting judgment (e.g. by suing advocate for negligent handling of case), principle not applicable where judgment obtained by consent

Courts—Court of Appeal—powers of court—inappropriate for court to give judgment on contested question of law if insufficient submissions and no judgment on matters by Royal Court

Tort—negligence—law applicable—Jersey courts bound by House of Lords decision on common law of negligence, even though expressly based on changeable English public policy considerations

The appellants brought an action against the respondents in the Royal Court for damages for the alleged negligent conduct by the first respondent of litigation on their behalf against a third party.

The appellants were sued by a third party in the Royal Court over their use of certain registered trade names and they instructed the first respondent, an advocate, to conduct their case. They later alleged that he had failed to comprehend their position from the outset and that he had handled the matter negligently. The first respondent persuaded the appellants to settle the action out of court against their wishes and judgment by consent was entered accordingly. The appellants' subsequent application to the Superior Number for leave to appeal against that judgment was refused. Those proceedings are reported at 1989 JLR 269.

The appellants then brought the present proceedings against the respondents for the alleged negligence and the Royal Court (Le Cras, Lieutenant Bailiff) struck out the action on the grounds that (a) the first respondent was immune from suit in respect of the actions complained of; and (b) allowing the action to continue would amount to a collateral attack upon a subsisting judgment (the consent order), which was contrary to public policy. The Royal Court's decision was implicitly made on the assumption that the immunity was good in law. These proceedings are reported at 1993 JLR 348.

On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the appellant submitted that the action should not have been struck out, because (a) in Jersey, public policy dictated that an advocate had no immunity from suit by a client for alleged negligent acts done in the course of his conduct of the case, even though in England the House of Lords had long ago decided that there was a narrow immunity from suit, based on contemporary and admittedly changeable public policy considerations, regarding an advocate's conduct in court and closely related pre-trial work; and in any case, in the light of modern views of professional liability for negligence, the immunity probably no longer existed in England; and (b) even if there were a limited degree of immunity from suit, the Royal Court had applied it incorrectly in the present case and because the appellants at the very least had an arguable case that any such immunity did not apply, the case should go to trial and should not have been struck out at an interlocutory stage.

The respondents submitted in reply that (a) the court was bound to apply the English law of negligence and there was no historical or public policy reason why in Jersey an advocate should not have the same immunity from suit as did counsel in England, in the interests of the administration of justice; (b) the first respondent was accordingly immune from suit not only in respect of his appearances in court but also regarding work that was so intimately connected with his conduct of the case in court that it could be said to amount to a preliminary decision on his part, such as his settlement of the suit; and (c) the appellants' action had therefore...

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