Can dogs bring legal proceedings?!

Can dogs bring legal proceedings?!

dogsMr Justice Snowden had to consider this question in the recent case of Moosun v HSBC Bank t/a First Direct [2015] EWHC 3308 (Ch). The claimant had brought proceedings against her bank and their solicitors on behalf of herself, her children and her two dogs, in relation to the bank’s re-possession of her home.

Snowden J ultimately struck out all the claims on the grounds that they were totally without merit and an abuse of process. In relation to the claim brought on behalf of the dogs, he noted that CPR 2.3(1) defines ‘claimant’ as a person who makes a claim and a dog could not be a person. Nor could he see how a dog could give instructions for a claim to be brought or be liable for any orders made against it.

Having struck out the claims as being totally without merit, Snowden J considered whether to make a civil restraint order (CRO) against the claimant to prevent her from issuing further proceedings. He went on to make a general CRO, the ‘highest’ form of CRO available, for a two year period. During this time the claimant will not be able to bring any proceedings in the High Court or County Court without the court’s permission.

The claimant had issued numerous applications (on behalf of herself, her children and her pets) against HSBC and its lawyers and other parties connected with the sale of the property (including the auctioneers and the solicitors acting for the buyers), and had also issued proceedings for judicial review of one of the decisions in which she was refused permission to appeal. Many of the applications were dismissed and recorded as being totally without merit.

In view of the history of the litigation, the claimant’s breach of a previous CRO and the fact that she was clearly a litigant who simply was not prepared to take ‘no’ for an answer, the imposition of a general CRO was the appropriate course of action for the court to take to prevent any further drain on the resources of the courts.

LexisPSL Dispute Resolution subscribers can find further information on Moosun here along with our practice note on civil restraint orders. Click here to get a free trial

Image via Alan Levine | Flickr

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About the author:

Melissa is a member of the LexisPSL Dispute Resolution team.  She focuses on the law and practice of commercial litigation with a particular interest in the procedural aspects of starting and managing civil claims up to and including trial.