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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions

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Cite as: [2015] EWHC 1647 (Admin)

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Neutral Citation Number: [2015] EWHC 1647 (Admin)


Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL
8 June 2016

B e f o r e :




Computer-Aided Transcript of the Stenograph Notes of
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The Claimant appeared in person
The Defendant did not attend and was not represented



Crown Copyright ©

    MR JUSTICE WILLIAM DAVIS: Bridget Wray is the subject of an order made as long ago as 1996 under what was then the Supreme Court Act 1981, now the Senior Courts Act, whereby she is prevented from bringing any civil proceedings without the leave of the Court. It was made by an order of the Divisional Court, the Court having heard from Mrs Wray and from counsel instructed by the Attorney General. The Court also received evidence from an official at the Treasury Solicitor who had obtained details of actions brought by Mrs Wray commenced between 1993 and 1995, principally against one or more doctors. The actions included claims for medical negligence, false imprisonment, assault, slander, injurious falsehood and interfering in a personal relationship.

    The history of the actions is set out in the affidavit of Mr Noble sworn in relation to that original application. I can summarise the position by indicating that each and every one of the actions was struck out by a Master of the High Court. In relation to each of them appeals were heard by either a deputy judge or a full-time judge of the High Court. In every case the appeal was dismissed. Applications to the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords were also dismissed, and on that premise the Divisional Court in 1996 made the order.

    Today Mrs Wray applies for the discharge of that order. It is apparent that the appropriate venue for any such application, which would have to be on notice to the Attorney General, would be a Divisional Court of the Administrative Court. Thus I sit in the Administrative Court for the purposes of determining whether there is an arguable case for the Divisional Court to consider.

    Mrs Wray argues first that the original order was obtained by deceit and fraud. I have indicated the material that the Court had. All of it is the subject of court record. It does not seem to me on the material I have there is any proper basis upon which to allege deceit and fraud either on the part of the Attorney or on the part of counsel who was instructed by the Attorney.

    Second, I am asked to say that it is at least arguable that section 42 is incompatible with the Human Rights Act on the basis that there are multiple breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights by reference to the operation of section 42 on Mrs Wray. It is said that it interferes with her right to life, it represents inhuman or degrading treatment, it represents slavery, it restricts her liberty and movement and is an unwarranted interference with her private life. I am quite satisfied that none of those propositions is arguable in any way. The notion of incompatibility with the Human Rights Act simply does not arise.

    She argues that there is a restraint of trade involved here. Bringing civil proceedings is not trade, and there is no restraint on her ability to trade.

    It is of note that the application to discharge the order is described in the application notice as being for this purpose:

    "to enable the Applicant to institute proceedings pursuant to the Slander of Women Act 1891 against Dr. ... Pudlowska and others."

    I enquired of Mrs Wray what it was that Dr Pudlowska, who apparently is a general practitioner, had said or written that could be said to have been actionable. Mrs Wray provided me with a copy of Markesinis and Deakin Tort Law, the fourth edition, where at page 606 it is indicated that imputation of certain medical conditions may amount to an actionable slander or libel. I enquired what it was that Dr Pudlowska had said in this particular case. Mrs Wray declined to tell me. That of itself indicates to me that there is a significant risk that this would be yet a further vexatious proceeding. It is also of note that she seeks to pursue Dr Pudlowska under a statute of 1891 that was repealed by the Defamation Act 2013.

    With the very greatest of respect to Mrs Wray the proposed proceedings, details of which to some limited extent are set out in the papers before me, fall into the very category of proceeding that led to this order in the first place. I am quite satisfied there is no arguable case for the Divisional Court to consider, and therefore I refuse permission for this application to be brought.

    Yes, thank you very much.

    MRS WRAY: Permission to appeal, your Honour.

    MR JUSTICE WILLIAM DAVIS: I am asked for permission to appeal. I decline that permission for all the reasons I have given in this short judgment.

    Thank you very much. Let me hand back the documents you handed up plus your textbook.

    MRS WRAY: Thank you, your Honour.

    MR JUSTICE WILLIAM DAVIS: Thank you very much.

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