When will serious procedural impropriety give grounds for appeal? Comprehensive guidance given by Mr Justice Saini in a case where Roger Laville and Matthew Tonnard acted for the successful party

30th March 2021

Roger Laville and Matthew Tonnard successfully resisted an appeal before Mr Justice Saini in the matter of Mahajna v London School of Business and Finance and ors [2020] EWHC 3717 (QB).

The Appellant sought to appeal the orders of His Honour Judge Murdoch relating to quantum and costs following a trial on liability before His Honour Judge Allen. The appeal alleged that, inter alia, there was procedural irregularity and unfairness at the trial in the lower court. As a consequence of which, it was asserted the Judge had incorrectly calculated the level of damages to be awarded – the true figure being £1.7m.

In a judgment that provides clarity to the test to be applied under CPR r.52.21(3)(b) (ie serious procedural or other irregularity), both in the context of the common law right to a fair trial and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Justice Saini dismissed all grounds of appeal. The test formulated by Mr Justice Saini at paragraphs 21 to 24 of the Judgment is to be welcomed for providing clarity in an area with previously little judicial authority. A transcript of the Judgment can be found here.