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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions

You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> Taylor, Re [2006] EWCA Civ 572 (16 May 2006)
Cite as: [2006] EWCA Civ 572

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Neutral Citation Number: [2006] EWCA Civ 572
Case No: B4/2006/0216

Mr Justice McFarlane

Royal Courts of Justice
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

B e f o r e :




Mrs Taylor - by telephone conference
Mr Taylor was not present
Hearing dates : 27th April 2006



Crown Copyright ©

    Lord Justice Wall :

  1. Mrs. Rita Taylor seeks permission to appeal against an order made by McFarlane J on 29 November 2005. Both Mrs. Taylor and her former husband, Mr. Colin Taylor, appeared in person before the judge, whose order reads: "Mrs. Taylor's application for leave to appeal out of time is hereby dismissed". The order which the judge is refusing Mrs. Taylor permission to appeal is not, however, specified.
  2. The proceedings in which the judge made his order appear from its face to be a "matrimonial cause" proceeding in the Principal Registry of the Family Division (PRFD) and treated by virtue of section 42 of the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984 as pending in a divorce count court. In those proceedings, Mr. Taylor was the Petitioner, and Mrs. Taylor the Respondent.
  3. I have a transcript of McFarlane J's judgment, in which he sets out the history of the case as it emerges from the court file and from the oral arguments placed before him. I will return to that history in a moment. Mrs. Taylor's Appellant's Notice setting out the grounds of her application for permission to appeal is a document she appears to have prepared without the assistance of lawyers, and it is, I have to say, not easy to follow. I give an example from the opening paragraph of her grounds of appeal: -
  4. "The facts as found in orders have been found to be untrue, i.e. Colin Taylor, my husband's lies to court, abuses of the Mental Health Act, atrocities by hospitals, i.e. UCLH, Edgware and Barnet Hospitals Breaches of Human Rights. Increase in and compliance with maintenance payments by husband. Real financial suffering and hardship by myself, children and my family. I owe a great deal of money trying to live and resolve this case. Also on-going harassment by hospitals."
  5. Unfortunately, Mrs. Taylor was unable to come to court to argue her application for permission in person on 27 April 2006. She was unwell on that day. At her request, therefore, I heard her over the telephone. A constant theme of what she said to me was that she had not been served with various documents, a theme which appears also in section 8 of her Appellant's Notice. In these circumstances, I decided, having heard her, that I would reserve judgment and take time both to consider what she had said and to look at the court file, to see if there was any basis for her assertion that she had been treated in the way in which she had alleged.
  6. McFarlane J recorded that Mr and Mrs Taylor had been married for a number of years, and that they had three children, now aged 20, 18 and 17. They appeared to have separated in 2001, and Mr. Taylor obtained a residence order in relation to all three children. There were then a series of hearings relating to finance in the PRFD, largely before Mr. District Judge Maple, now retired. On 23 January 2003 an order was made whereby Mr. Taylor was to receive the entirety of the net proceeds of sale of the former matrimonial home, whilst endowment insurance policies were transferred to Mrs Taylor. There was a nominal order for maintenance in favour of Mrs. Taylor. Counsel were instructed on both sides. There was no appeal from that order.
  7. There was plainly great difficulty in achieving a sale of the former matrimonial home, and that question appears to have been considered in court several times. Mrs. Taylor later applied for non-molestation and other orders which were refused on 6 August 2004, and on 10 September 2004, Mrs Taylor's application to vary the nominal order for periodical payments made on 23 January 2003 was refused by District Judge Maple. On 7 February 2005 a number of applications made by Mrs. Taylor were refused by District Judge Maple, who thereafter refused to entertain other applications made by Mrs. Taylor on the basis that similar applications had been dealt with on 7 February 2005.
  8. McFarlane J records that on 27 May 2005, the Senior District Judge, District Judge Philip Waller wrote to Mrs. Taylor indicating that he could not see evidence of a change of circumstances following the February hearing. Mrs. Taylor was not satisfied with that and on 21 September appeared before District Judge Bowman. She adjourned the case to 20 September 2005, when it came before District Judge Maple. He dismissed all Mrs. Taylor's claims. Mrs. Taylor told McFarlane J that the District Judge gave her short shrift. It would seem to be this order which Mrs. Taylor was seeking to appeal to McFarlane J.
  9. McFarlane J also recorded that Mrs. Taylor had received the sum of 1,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel as a result of injuries she received from Mr. Taylor. She told the judge that this related to an incident on 7 December 2001 when Mr. Taylor had attempted to kill one of her children and herself. She sought a non-molestation order in relation to this incident. She also sought an occupation order in relation to the former matrimonial home. As to residence of the children, the judge pointed out that two were now of age and the third was 17. Two were thus of age and no longer amenable to the court's jurisdiction. The third was 17, and the court did not make orders in relation to young people of that age unless there were highly exceptional circumstances.
  10. As to financial matters, the judge was satisfied that it was not possible for Mrs. Taylor to reopen the orders previously made. He treated Mrs. Taylor's application as a preliminary hearing of her appeal. He held that she had failed to make out any case for re-opening the periodical payments order and that the District Judge had not been plainly wrong in dismissing her claims. Other claims under the Human Rights Act 1988 and for perjury were misplaced and not within the judge's jurisdiction. He therefore refused her application for permission to appeal.
  11. In the light of Mrs. Taylor's complaints, I have looked at the file. There are, of course, many more orders that those to which McFarlane J referred, but nothing in the documentation to lead me to the conclusion that he was in any way incorrect in the conclusion he reached.
  12. I simply do not understand Mrs. Taylor's complaint that "there has been no legal service of documents". For many of the hearings, including the all important hearing of the ancillary relief application before District Judge Maple on 23 January 2003, Mrs. Taylor was represented by counsel. There is on the file a letter to her from her former husband's solicitors dated 3 March 2006 confirming the fact of her representation and that the former matrimonial home has been sold.
  13. The judge was plainly right. There were no grounds for challenging the decisions made by District Judge Maple either of September 2005 or on any other occasion. Her application for permission to appeal to this court would, accordingly, stand no reasonable prospect of success.
  14. There is a further point. As McFarlane J's order was made on appeal from the District Judge, an appeal to this court would be a second appeal. In section 55 of the Access to Justice Act 1999, Parliament has decreed that the Court of Appeal cannot entertain such an appeal unless it raises an important point of principle or practice or there is some other compelling reason for the court to entertain the appeal. Neither or those criteria applies here.
  15. The application for permission to appeal is, accordingly, refused.

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