Litigant in person “not entitled to indulgence”
This case involved Mr Tinkler, the chief executive of Stobart Group and owner of Carlisle Airport and Aviation Consultant Mr Elliott who represented himself in the proceedings. Mr Elliott acted as a whistleblower, reporting Mr Tinkler and his firm to the Civil Aviation Authority, the allegations were investigated and no action was taken. The working relationship between the parties ended, Mr Elliott maintained that he had been forced to resign as a consequence of the whistleblowing. Within the Court of Appeal’s judgment it is stated that this led to Mr Elliott making munerous unsubstantiated claims and allegations of wrongdoing of an extremely serious and damaging nature.
Mr Elliott proceeded to pursue various causes of action and within those proceedings Mr Elliott was committed to prison for 3 months for contempt. Various proceedings commenced by Mr Elliott were also struck out as an abuse of process.
Mr Elliott within the proceedings subject of the appeal, failed to appear at a hearing an Order was made and some 18 months later sought to set aside the order. At first instance the application to set aside the Order was granted with considerable leaway granted to Mr Elliott on the basis that he was a litigant in person.
On Appeal the central issue related to the ‘promptness’ of Mr Elliott’s actions in seeking an order to set aside and the relevant case law was considered, however it was found that “there may be fact and circumstances in relation to a litigant in person which may go to an assessment of promptness but in my judgment they will only operate close to the margins. An apponent of a litigant in person is entitled to assume finality without expecting excessive indulgence to be extended to the litigant in person”.
The full judgment can be found here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2012/1289.html