A litigant in person who alleged a conspiracy involving lawyers and judges has failed to lift a block on him taking further legal action.
Businessman Paul Millinder was issued with an extended civil restraint order (ECRO) last year after a court found he refused to take ‘no’ for an answer in a long-running dispute with Middlesbrough Football Club.
Millinder applied for the order to be set aside in Middlesbrough Football & Athletic Company (1986) Ltd v Earth Energy Investments LLP & Anor. Chancellor of the High Court Sir Geoffrey Vos, who heard the application, said suggestions that the ECRO was an unlawful false instrument and abuse of process to conceal fraud and misconduct were ‘unfounded nonsense’.
Vos said: ‘Mr Millinder has behaved in a threatening and belligerent manner to many people, and his conduct has been inexcusable. The ECRO was, in my judgment, amply justified on the evidence.’
The original order was made by His Honour Judge Pelling in June last year, following three applications to the court that were deemed totally without merit. The order was to last until June 2020 but was disputed by Millinder.
Litigation had followed a dispute between Millinder and Middlesbrough Football Club in relation to the construction of a wind turbine at its Riverside Stadium. Both sides resorted to litigation after the relationship deteriorated, with Millinder trying repeatedly to assert his companies’ legal rights.
Vos said Millinder made several ‘central misunderstandings’ about his position as a director of a wound up company, and believed that he could apply to different judges in the same court to set decisions aside.
The judge said Millinder could not make allegations of fraud or conspiracy without a ‘sound evidential basis’, and the practice of making ‘wild allegations’ was to be deprecated. The judge found no evidence for allegations of fraud, conspiracy or misdealing.
‘This case provides a classic example of a litigant in person getting the problems he faces out of proportion,’ said the judge. ‘Mr Millinder always thought, perhaps still does, that he was right and everyone else was wrong. Instead of bringing straightforward court proceedings to try to establish his companies’ claims or appealing orders he wanted to challenge, he made a series of ever more unmeritorious applications, wasting the time of the court, of judges, of civil servants, of lawyers and others.’
HHJ Pelling had concluded that Millinder had ‘bombarded’ a wide variety of different people, including counsel, solicitors, and officials and directors of Middlesbrough, court officials and judges with correspondence which strayed ‘very far from what [was] appropriate even in hard fought litigation’.
Correspondence including threats against lawyers, judges and court officials to have them prosecuted for fraud, blackmail and corruption were described by the chancellor of the High Court as ‘entirely unnecessary’ and ‘wholly inappropriate’.
Millinder submitted that the ECRO was ‘entirely unlawful’ and an abuse of process used to disguise fraud and serious misconduct by lawyers and insolvency practitioners. He also alleged that the order was made with ‘dishonest intent’ on the part of HHJ Pelling who must have known he was not empowered to do so.
He applied in September 2018 to set aside the ECRO and asked the court to set aside a winding up order made earlier in the year.
The court heard that even since the ECRO was imposed, Millinder has applied to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal to have solicitors involved on behalf of Middlesbrough struck off, and sought to procure the arrest or prosecution of several judicial office holders.