The Practical Lawyer


Sanctions – vexatious litigant

In long-running divorce and financial remedy proceedings, R was found to be an ‘exceptionally vexatious litigant’ throughout. Mostyn J made a general civil restraint order and a protection from harassment order under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 restraining R from harassing A and her lawyers, and the children. 

R was already subject to an extended civil restraint order made in 2014 prohibiting him from making further court applications without permission, but continued to make applications which were all dismissed. That restraint order had not worked.
These proceedings involved A’s applications for:
  • a costs order for her (and the Receiver’s) current and anticipated costs;
  • orders ensuring the costs could be met from R’s pension.
  • an extension of a freezing order;
  • a general civil restraint order against R; and
  • an order preventing R from harassing her and the children.
Mostyn J made all of the orders sought and expressed significant criticism of R and his conduct which he described as abysmal and at ‘the top end of misconduct’. His approach was ‘one of the worst cases of vexatious litigation misconduct’ he has ever encountered.
He also took the view R would carry on making further vexatious applications, so the case was ‘crying out’ for the making of an indefinite civil proceedings order under s42(1) Senior Courts Act. He did not have the power to do so, however, and requested that the judgment be passed to the Attorney General for his consideration. Maughan v Wilmot [2019] EWHC 2765 (Fam). Source:

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