On appeal from: [2014] EWCA Civ 1106

The claimant was a member of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family and had failed to comply with an order that he personally sign a witness statement pertaining to disclosure matters in relation to his joint venture with the respondent for setting up a 3rd company. He argued that his position prevented him from signing the document against the instruction of Ros J who had ordered further details on the joint venture. The respondent successfully obtained an “unless order” from Norris J that unless the appellant complied with the disclosure order the judgment would be entered against him. The appellant was unsuccessful in a number of appeals to vary the order by Vos J and for relief from sanctions but was allowed to proceed to the Supreme Court on terms that he paid $6m to his solicitors to abide the order of the Court. The issue for the Court was therefore whether the appellant was entitled to the relief he sought from the sanction.

The Supreme Court dismissed his appeal with a majority of 4-1 the language of the CPR and its Practice Directions suggested that the standard form of disclosure by a party did require personal signing. It stated that Vos J’s decision to make the order was well within the margin accorded to the case management decision and the decisions taken by Norris J to issue to the “Unless order” and Mann J to refuse relief from sanctions were also correct in principle after their careful consideration of the competing arguments. It also stated that the Supreme Court should be very diffident about interfering with the guidance given or principles laid down by the Court of Appeal when it comes to case management and application of the CPR.

Lord Clarke would have allowed the appeal on the basis that justice requires that the Prince should be allowed to challenge the claim against him, and all parties would be protected because the Court would be able to resolve all the issues between the parties.


For judgment, please download: [2014] UKSC 64
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII