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England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions >> Hawk Recovery Ltd v Hall & Ors  EWHC 1307 (Ch) (03 June 2016)
Cite as:  EWHC 1307 (Ch)
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Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| Hawk Recovery Limited
|- and -
|Nicholas John Hall
Brunswick Wealth LLP
Benjamin Hawkin (instructed by Bar Pro Bono Unit) for the First and Second Defendants
The Third Defendant did not appear and was not represented
Hearing dates: 18 March 2016
Crown Copyright ©
Master Matthews :
"3. Some of the claims against the defendant are of the following type. In St George's Bank Holdings v Eustace, then in Sargespace Limited v Eustace, and in Hawk Recovery Limited v Eustace, the claimant sought the recovery of a flat or a bridging loan in respect of that flat and a Range Rover motor car; in Prentygast v Eustace, the claimant sues for outstanding taxi fares; in Hawk Consultancy LLC v Eustace, the claimant seeks to recover an alleged debt; in Sargespace Limited v Hall, [ie this case] the claimant seeks to establish its title to a house in which the defendant's parents live; in Independent Debt Management Limited v Eustace, the claimant seeks to recover the cost of work said to have been done at the defendant's home. In the present action, Bluebird Promotions Limited v Eustace, the claimant seeks to recover a further alleged debt. In short, it is the defendant's case that none of the money and property claimed is due and owing to the claimants. They comprise either earnings or gifts from Mr Baxendale-Walker."
"It is fair to say that there have been various judicial findings that are highly critical of Mr Baxendale-Walker and to the effect that the litigation against Ms Eustace is an abuse of process."
"20. … I have already noted that Haddon-Cave J expressed concern whether the freezing order was being used as part of a bullying campaign against Ms Eustace. Six months later it is clear that his concern was well founded.
21. There is a multiplicity of separate proceedings which have been issued against Ms Eustace and even against her parents, not only in this country but also in the United States. Those proceedings have been brought by a bewildering variety of companies who claim to be entitled to an interest in the house referred to in the Sargespace judgment, or in the case of the action against Ms Eustace's parents, claim to be entitled to an interest in or ownership of their house in the Isle of Wight.
27. In my judgment, these matters show very clearly that it is indeed Mr Baxendale-Walker who, far from being a disinterested mediator, is the driving force behind all this litigation. It seems to me an overwhelming inference that it is being done as part of a vendetta against Ms Eustace following the breakdown of their relationship described in my judgment in the Sargespace action…
28. All of this, in my judgment adds up to a very clear case of abuse of process…"
"28. However, in my view what is improper is the use of the court's process for ulterior and illegitimate motives. The judge found that Mr Baxendale-Walker was in pursuit of his personal interest to do with the relationship that had formerly existed between himself and Ms Eustace, bringing proceedings against her through what was effectively a multiplicity of nominees with the intention of ensuring that even if she was successful in her defence, she would nevertheless be ruined. His principal strategy was to use the litigation as intimidation and, as it was found by the judge, personally to use intimidation of her. As soon as the defendant put out one fire, another one appeared. This was the nature of the orchestration which it seems to me the judge had identified. The judge was, in my view, entitled to find that he, through the nominee companies, was misusing the court's process. There was an immediate and necessary relation between the application and the abuse because the form of the application was designed and intended to further that abuse."
"I am going to make an award of costs on the indemnity basis. I have already indicated briefly why that is. It is because I have concluded, as have two judges previously, that the conduct of these proceedings as a whole is abusive and it is plain that although the individual conduct of those representing the two claimants has not been abusive, the underlying theme here is that these claims are brought against the defendant in a manner which is oppressive and is an abuse of the court's process. It seems to me that it is not possible to have a clearer example of a case which is outside the norm and a case in which it is appropriate to make an order for indemnity costs."
Further evidence and submissions
"Should the Court decide that we are indeed the lawful owners of the property, we will then arrange for the debt to be paid. If this does not happen, then the trustee in bankruptcy will be able to sell the property and settle the debt. Either way Mr Paul Baxendale Walker will get paid."