Judge exposes ‘abysmal’ LiP to show challenges faced by courts

Topics: Family and children,Legal aid and access to justice,Courts business

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  • Mr Justice Mostyn

A family judge has publicly highlighted the actions of a litigant in person, who sent abusive emails and assaulted his opposing counsel, to demonstrate the scale of problems for courts in the face of ‘unrepresented and malevolent litigants’.

In a divorce case at the High Court, Mr Justice Mostyn opted to waive a husband and wife’s right to privacy in order to expose the ‘extreme’ conduct of the husband in the public interest. His conduct included a threat to execute his wife, her lawyers and Mostyn in a gas chamber. 

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In Veluppillai v Veluppillai, Mostyn said: ‘The public should be aware of the scale of problems that courts administering justice and implementing the rule of law have to face at the hands of unrepresented and malevolent litigants determined to do everything they can to destroy the process.’

The case centred around a wife’s claim for ancillary relief, which first commenced in September 2012. Since then there have been over 30 hearings, including four appeals mounted by the husband, Michael Veluppillai, due to what Mostyn described as his ‘extreme litigation conduct’.

He said: ‘In these ancillary relief proceedings he has been removed from the courtroom on at least one occasion by security staff. He has been repeatedly warned by judges about his unpleasant menacing conduct in court. On one occasion he assaulted the wife’s counsel and the wife in court for which he was convicted of assault in the magistrates’ court. He skipped his sentencing hearing and fled abroad from where he has bombarded the court with abusive emails.’ 

In the husband’s emails he claimed that he had a fatal illness, demanding proceedings be adjourned indefinitely. He then called Mostyn a ‘cruel and evil person’, when the judge ordered a hearing to remain listed despite the husband’s claim that he was fatally ill. 

The court said it would allow the husband to participate in the hearing by phone or video. Instead the husband continued to email Mostyn’s clerk.

In one email he said: ‘IF YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING THE CASE WITHOUT TELLING ME I WILL F**k YOU ALL MOSTYN (Sic).’ 

A later email read: ‘I WANT THE F**KING UPDATE ON WHAT IS HAPPENING YOU F**KING TALIKIUNG MY HARTD EARNED MONEY MOSTYN WHO THE HELL ARE YOU MAKING DECISION ON MY MONEY. HAVE YOU EARNED THIS F**KING MONEY. YOU ALL MUST BE EXECUTED IN A GAS CHAMBER (Sic).’

Mostyn ordered the husband to give his wife assets totalling £733,518 and made a cost order for £146,609.

He said the costs order would allow the wife to abandon her legal aid certificate. ‘This is … a very reasonable course. Legal aid firms depend for their survival for inter parties costs orders being made,’ he said.

Mostyn said the husband’s conduct was ‘so abysmal’ that he should pay all his wife’s costs. 

Readers' comments (36)

  • Well done, HH Mostyn, what terrible behaviour! Now he is finding out a bit of what solicitors have to put up with, well perhaps not quite that bad perhaps.

    I suspect that the enforcement of his orders could be quite a challenge though and I am rather glad it does not fall to me to have to serve any papers on the man.

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  • The chickens are coming home to roost. Nobody should be subjected to this sort of nonsense especially a Judge but David is right. Solicitors have been acting as gatekeepers and have been on the front line filtering this sort of detritus for years. Now the bench are feeling some of the pain I expect pressure will be exerted to make changes. I do however wonder how equipped Judges are to deal with LIP's.

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  • You have sown the wind...now you will reap the whirlwind'.....For years these clowns in the Judiciary have done everything within their power to demean and devalue the role of solicitors, punishing them in terms of costs and opening the door to all and sundry , particularly Banks, to 'have a go' at our PII policy.

    And now they whinge. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, they will have, by and large, totally pressed the self destruct button and been replaced by Mediators and less pompous arrogant, conceited forms of Artificial Intelligence.

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  • I think most Judges have the social and interpersonal skills to get by however I think there is still a sizeable and significant minority who don't. The social, gender, racial etc make up of the Judiciary is changing and in time I hope things will improve so that comments such as those at 10.19 no longer apply.

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  • The judiciary deserve everything they get. It can't be too long before a disgruntled LIP has more than a verbal go at one. Certainly, it has happened to solicitors.

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  • The vast majority of unrepresented litigants are respectful in court and with dealings with the court.

    There are dreadful solicitors and barristers who cause immense problems to their clients and cause delay in the Courts.

    Similarly there are dreadful unrepresented litigants.

    Any Judge worth their salt can deal with both easily enough.

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  • While I respect what the judge is trying to do, I question what this has to do with Legal Aid or the reforms. This is a case stretching from 2012, before the reforms, and it doesn't sound like this chap has been represented at any point. So this issue would have existed with our without the reforms and merely demonstrates an issue that has always existed - sometimes people are awful.

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  • And there you have it, as I have said more than once before on the matters of this subject.

    "Beware the 'Laws of Nature', for you cannot and ought not pray to keenly for the presence of 'Snow' and then go on to complain continuously and venomously once it gets here, for you failed to prepare and factor in the major issue that 'you' cannot stand the 'Cold'"

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  • I am so pleased to read this article. The MOJ are spinning nonsense about how the courts are coping, how we need less lawyers, and court buildings etc. McKenzie friends regretabbly are not helpful eiher, often being little other than bumbling pleasant, long winded nuisances who don't help, or officious types, thinking they're better than everyone else, and making the time at court tiresome.

    I do lots of family and civil work, and am never surprised by the ludicrous amounts of time taken by LiPs and McKenzie friends - one took a call in an application before a District Judgem raising their hand to silence a protesting DJ. Another referred to a Circuit Judge as 'Your Majesty' in between rambling about her divorce .... in a civil case. Litigants are shut out of using lawyers because of the frankly abhorrent fee increases of up to 600% in serious cases, introduced alogside fee cuts to lawyers 'because law is too expensive'. You really couldn't make it up.

    The system is broken. It's not collapsing, it has fallen apart some time ago. The level of advocacy in the Magistrates Court from quitea few of the profesionals is shocking, largely because of the low fees, despite the good old advocates soldiering along for kids rates.

    Legal Aid has gone, fees have been slashed. It's not rocket science.

    The old scriptural writing on the wall springs to mind "mene mene tekel upharsin" Which roughly tanslates as "you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting"

    The MOJ really need to take not, but of course they will shake their head and proceed alomg the lines of all being rosy.

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  • How utterly disgraceful for His Lordship to be addressed in this manner. Fortunately parliament is sitting or it may have had to be recalled.

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