The High Court has extended a civil restraint order against a former solicitor and her 88-year-old mother after years of failed claims against other lawyers.
Ruling in Sheikh v Beaumont, Honourable Mrs Justice Patterson said the she had ‘no doubt’ that renewing two restraint orders against Anal Sheikh and her mother Rabia was ‘necessary and proportionate’.
The two orders involve barristers who had acted for her in previous litigation: Marc Beaumont in one; Hugo Page QC and Nigel Meares in the other.
The court heard Miss Sheikh, formerly a conveyancing specialist and principal of a high street firm in Wembley, embarked on a series of legal actions before and after she was struck off in 2009 for dishonesty.
After a dispute with a former client over a property transaction, she received nothing from a £1.2m settlement agreement in her favour.
But a subsequent professional negligence claim against Beaumont, who had represented her in the litigation, was refused by the court after the 12 bases of claim were found to have no real prospect of success. Mr Justice Simon found that four applications brought by Miss Sheikh were 'totally without merit'.
After this point, Miss Sheikh issued proceedings against five more lawyers who had acted for her in the Beaumont case. Each claim was stayed on the grounds that the case was an abuse of process or had no reasonable grounds.
Two further actions were commenced in the Chancery Division by Miss Sheikh and her mother, this time against a total of 16 people, including three solicitors, two barristers from the other side in the original case, Beaumont and his wife. These were all struck out.
In July 2009, Beaumont successfully applied for a two-year civil restraint order against Miss Sheikh, with the judge Mr (now Lord) Justice Burnett saying the former solicitor had been ‘vexatious’ and used her legal knowledge to harass not only Beaumont but also his wife and legal advisers.
He said the involvement of lawyers on the other side as defendants was a common feature of her claims, as was ‘increasingly intemperate language’ to describe the conduct and actions of judges who had disappointed her.
In 2010, proceedings were issued in the Queen’s Bench Division in the name of Mrs Rabia Sheikh against Page and Meares claiming £1.5m damages.
The barristers had acted for her daughter at different stages of the original litigation. Proceedings were halted and a judge ordered that no further application could be made without permission of a Queen’s Bench Master.
Over subsequent years, Miss Sheikh made a number of allegations against various individuals and groups. The civil restraint order was extended in 2011 and her mother added to proceedings when it was again extended in 2013.
Miss Sheikh also sought to intervene in Beaumont’s case with the Bar Standards Board and in the case of another barrister, Tariq Rehman, and the BSB.
Representing herself last week, Miss Sheikh described herself as a ‘victim’ and said she was ‘quite satisfied that no person since October 2007 had made a valid judgment or understood matters properly’.
As well as extending the restraint orders against Miss Sheikh, Mrs Justice Patterson continued the order against her mother, who she described as a ‘forgetful 88-year-old lady’.
Patterson added: ‘I cannot ignore the persistent way in which [Miss Sheikh] has pursued people against whom she perceives she has a genuine grievance.
‘That conduct has continued up to and including June 2015. As part of that course of conduct she has demonstrated that she has no compunction in using her mother as a tool in her broader litigation aims. The behaviour is very much that of a vexatious litigant.’