Civil proceedings orders against vexatious litigants
Civil proceedings orders against vexatious litigants

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Civil proceedings orders against vexatious litigants
  • When will a civil proceedings order be made?
  • Obtaining a civil proceedings order (CPO)
  • Effect of a CPO
  • Duration of a CPO
  • Discharging a CPO

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Notes: Civil restraint orders, Limited civil restraint orders, Extended civil restraint orders and General civil restraint orders.

When will a civil proceedings order be made?

Where an individual repeatedly brings unmeritorious claims and/or court applications against the same or different parties, the Attorney General (AG), in the exercise of its public interest function, can apply to the court for an order pursuant to section 42(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (SCA 1981) which prevents a vexatious litigant from bringing further civil proceedings without leave of the High Court. The advantage of a civil proceedings order over a civil restraint order is that it is not limited in time to two years (which is the case for extended civil restraint orders and general civil restraint orders).

If satisfied, the High Court may make a 'civil proceedings order', a 'criminal proceedings order' or an 'all proceedings order'. As the name suggests, a civil proceedings order restricts the issue of civil proceedings, a criminal proceedings order restricts the issue of criminal proceedings, and an all proceedings order is a combination of the two. This Practice Note provides guidance on the civil proceedings order (CPO). For guidance on criminal proceedings orders, see Practice Note: Vexatious litigants in Criminal proceedings.

SCA 1981, s 42(1) provides that