A former solicitor has been placed under a civil restraint order to curb his ‘consistent’ claims, applications and appeals to the courts. Farid El Diwany appeared in the administrative court today where the Solicitors Regulation Authority sought a civil restraint order to ‘prevent any litigation against the SRA as a body, its officers, representatives and employees.’
El Diwany argued he was within his right to litigate. He told the court: ‘I have a gift for speaking the truth and reprimanding individuals and organisations.’
Benjamin Tankel, for the SRA, said there was a ‘strong public interest’ in a civil restraint order ‘protecting the court system from abuse.’
The court heard that El Diwany, who was struck off in 2019 after it emerged he had harrassment convictions in Norway, had brought several actions against the SRA and that at least three applications had been certified totally without merit.
Tankel added: ‘We are beginning to see not only Mr El Diwany appealing whenever he can but also complaining of individuals and then appealing those complaints. He is generating never-ending litigation.’
‘Mr El Diwany broadly falls into two areas [with his arguments],’ Tankel said. 'First that his convictions in Norway were unfair, second in tribunal Mr El Diwany was provoked to act in the way he had done.
‘The overarching point I wish to make about [El Diwany’s witness statement], he does not deny making the applications, he explains why it is justified to make the applications…but does not deny he made them.
‘Quantitatively you have got well over three [without merit applications or claims], however one counts them [applications without merit] could easily be into double figures. There have been multiple applications in close succession, a dogged and single-minded pursuit of the same issue, the threshold of a civil restraint order is made out.
‘Mr El Diwany appeals everything, complains about most, if not all, the professionals and judges in cases against him and never takes no for an answer.’
Tankel added: ‘The circumstances are Mr El Diwany believes he is the victim of a vast Islamophobic conspiracy and is determined to establish that is the case in the court. Those are circumstances that are not going to change, nor Mr El Diwany’s belief, nor the response of the court is going to change.’
El Diwany said the SRA’s application for a civil restrain order was ‘totally without merit.’ He added: ‘I regard myself as a hero in the forefront of protest against scheming Islamophobia.
‘I hope one day that I will win eventually, if not in the courts, outside them. I’d have to be completely off my head…not to do something and litigate. I do not lack all insight into what I am doing, [to say that] is the greatest insult to a litigant.’
When asked by Mr Justice Murray if his issuing of applications without merit was ‘persistent’ El Diwany agreed.
He said: ‘It is…when you say persist, you only have a few weeks to appeal. I’m not going to let it go.’
Speaking to Justice Murray, El Diwany added: ‘I will not continue [pursuing litigation], I do not have the money.
‘I said before I die I want to make sure people get the message that…this court is Islamophobic. It is institutionally racist.’
Justice Murray, who will also provide a written judgment, granted SRA’s application for a civil restraint order against El Diwany, who can appeal the decision within 21 days after the written judgment is published.
Justice Murray said: ‘Mr El Diwany believes it is part of a cover up by the judiciary’s institutional rascim and stark Islamophobia which is backed by the report [from the University of Manchester].
‘I do not doubt the sincerity of Mr El Diwany’s sense of grievance and have no basis to disagree with anything Mr El Diwany says about what happened in Norway or his statement that he has been subject to vile abuse as a result of any stories in the press.’
The court heard the judge condemn the abuse El Diwany had been subject to but could not take it into account of the civil restraint proceedings.
The order, which came into effect today for a period of three years, means that if El Diwany wants to pursue a claim, application or litigation in the High Court or any country court against the SRA, he must seek permission from Justice Murray first.
El Diwany was also ordered to pay the SRA’s costs totalling £5,993.50.