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2 November 2015

Judge lambasts ‘abysmal’ litigant in person and makes him pay costs of £150,000

In  Veluppillai v Veluppillai [2015] EWHC 3095 (Fam) Mr Justice Mostyn has described the conduct of a husband conducting his own case as 'abysmal', reports Family Law Week.

The judge noted that since the claim had been commenced in September 2012 there had been over 30 hearings including four appeals mounted by the husband. Mostyn J set out the history of the husband's behaviour:

"This deluge has been caused by the husband's extreme litigation misconduct. In parallel proceedings concerning a bogus loan asserted by his sister he made threats to kill against the wife and her counsel for which he was committed to prison for contempt. In these ancillary relief proceedings he has been removed from the courtroom on at a least one occasion by security staff. He has been repeatedly warned by judges about his unpleasant menacing conduct in court. On one occasion he assaulted the wife's counsel and the wife in court for which he was later convicted of assault in the magistrates' court. He skipped his sentencing hearing and fled abroad from where he has bombarded the court with abusive emails claiming that he has a fatal illness and demanding that the proceedings be adjourned indefinitely. In the course of the proceedings he has entered into a number of transactions designed to defeat the wife's claims."

The case concerned the wife's application for ancillary relief. She sought an order to sell one property and to use the proceeds (a) to pay off the mortgage on another and (b) to provide a fund to enable her, inter alia, to set up a business. Mostyn J considered her proposal 'eminently reasonable and fair' and adopted it in order to achieve a clean break. He also ordered that the husband should pay the wife's costs assessed in the sum of £146,609.

Mostyn J further directed that all of the husband's emails to court since 8 October 2015 should be sent to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for him to decide if any of the threats contained in them amount to criminal offences.