PRACTICE DIRECTION 3C – CIVIL RESTRAINT ORDERS

This practice direction supplements CPR rule 3.11

Contents of this Practice Direction

Title
Introduction
Limited civil restraint orders
Extended civil restraint orders
General civil restraint orders
General
Form N19
Form N19A
Form N19B

Introduction

1 This practice direction applies where the court is considering whether to make –

(a) a limited civil restraint order;

(b) an extended civil restraint order; or

(c) a general civil restraint order,

against a party who has issued claims or made applications which are totally without merit.

Rules 3.3(7), 3.4(6) and 23.12 provide that where a statement of case or application is struck out or dismissed and is totally without merit, the court order must specify that fact and the court must consider whether to make a civil restraint order. Rule 52.10(6) makes similar provision where the appeal court refuses an application for permission to appeal, strikes out an appellant's notice or dismisses an appeal.

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Limited civil restraint orders

2.1 A limited civil restraint order may be made by a judge of any court where a party has made 2 or more applications which are totally without merit.

2.2 Where the court makes a limited civil restraint order, the party against whom the order is made –

(1) will be restrained from making any further applications in the proceedings in which the order is made without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order;

(2) may apply for amendment or discharge of the order provided he has first obtained the permission of a judge identified in the order; and

(3) may apply for permission to appeal the order and if permission is granted, may appeal the order.

2.3 Where a party who is subject to a limited civil restraint order –

(1) makes a further application in the proceedings in which the order is made without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order, such application will automatically be dismissed –

(a) without the judge having to make any further order; and

(b) without the need for the other party to respond to it;

(2) repeatedly makes applications for permission pursuant to that order which are totally without merit, the court may direct that if the party makes any further application for permission which is totally without merit, the decision to dismiss the application will be final and there will be no right of appeal, unless the judge who refused permission grants permission to appeal.

2.4 A party who is subject to a limited civil restraint order may not make an application for permission under paragraphs 2.2(1) or 2.2(2) without first serving notice of the application on the other party in accordance with paragraph 2.5.

2.5 A notice under paragraph 2.4 must –

(1) set out the nature and grounds of the application; and

(2) provide the other party with at least 7 days within which to respond.

2.6 An application for permission under paragraphs 2.2(1) or 2.2(2) –

(1) must be made in writing;

(2) must include the other party’s written response, if any, to the notice served under paragraph 2.4; and

(3) will be determined without a hearing.

2.7 An order under paragraph 2.3(2) may only be made by –

(1) a Court of Appeal judge;

(2) a High Court judge or Master; or

(3) a Designated Civil Judge or their appointed deputy.

2.8 Where a party makes an application for permission under paragraphs 2.2(1) or 2.2(2) and permission is refused, any application for permission to appeal –

(1) must be made in writing; and

(2) will be determined without a hearing.

2.9 A limited civil restraint order –

(1) is limited to the particular proceedings in which it is made;

(2) will remain in effect for the duration of the proceedings in which it is made, unless the court otherwise orders; and

(3) must identify the judge or judges to whom an application for permission under paragraphs 2.2(1), 2.2(2) or 2.8 should be made.

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Extended civil restraint orders

3.1 An extended civil restraint order may be made by –

(1) a judge of the Court of Appeal;

(2) a judge of the High Court; or

(3) a Designated Civil Judge or their appointed deputy in the County Court,
where a party has persistently issued claims or made applications which are totally without merit.

3.2 Unless the court otherwise orders, where the court makes an extended civil restraint order, the party against whom the order is made –

(1) will be restrained from issuing claims or making applications in –

(a) any court if the order has been made by a judge of the Court of Appeal;

(b) the High Court or the County Court if the order has been made by a judge of the High Court; or

(c) the County Court identified in the order if the order has been made by a designated civil judge or their appointed deputy, concerning any matter involving or relating to or touching upon or leading to the proceedings in which the order is made without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order;

(2) may apply for amendment or discharge of the order provided he has first obtained the permission of a judge identified in the order; and

(3) may apply for permission to appeal the order and if permission is granted, may appeal the order.

3.3 Where a party who is subject to an extended civil restraint order –

(1) issues a claim or makes an application in a court identified in the order concerning any matter involving or relating to or touching upon or leading to the proceedings in which the order is made without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order, the claim or application will automatically be struck out or dismissed –

(a) without the judge having to make any further order; and

(b) without the need for the other party to respond to it;

(2) repeatedly makes applications for permission pursuant to that order which are totally without merit, the court may direct that if the party makes any further application for permission which is totally without merit, the decision to dismiss the application will be final and there will be no right of appeal, unless the judge who refused permission grants permission to appeal.

3.4 A party who is subject to an extended civil restraint order may not make an application for permission under paragraphs 3.2(1) or 3.2(2) without first serving notice of the application on the other party in accordance with paragraph 3.5.

3.5 A notice under paragraph 3.4 must –

(1) set out the nature and grounds of the application; and

(2) provide the other party with at least 7 days within which to respond.

3.6 An application for permission under paragraphs 3.2(1) or 3.2(2) –

(1) must be made in writing;

(2) must include the other party’s written response, if any, to the notice served under paragraph 3.4; and

(3) will be determined without a hearing.

3.7 An order under paragraph 3.3(2) may only be made by –

(1) a Court of Appeal judge;

(2) a High Court judge; or

(3) a Designated Civil Judge or their appointed deputy.

3.8 Where a party makes an application for permission under paragraphs 3.2(1) or 3.2(2) and permission is refused, any application for permission to appeal –

(1) must be made in writing; and

(2) will be determined without a hearing.

3.9 An extended civil restraint order –

(1) will be made for a specified period not exceeding 2 years;

(2) must identify the courts in which the party against whom the order is made is restrained from issuing claims or making applications; and

(3) must identify the judge or judges to whom an application for permission under paragraphs 3.2(1), 3.2(2) or 3.8 should be made.

3.10 The court may extend the duration of an extended civil restraint order, if it considers it appropriate to do so, but it must not be extended for a period greater than 2 years on any given occasion.

3.11 If they consider that it would be appropriate to make an extended civil restraint order –

(1) a Master or a District Judge in a district registry of the High Court must transfer the proceedings to a High Court judge; and

(2) a Circuit Judge or a District Judge in the County Court must transfer the proceedings to the Designated Civil Judge.

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General civil restraint orders

4.1 A general civil restraint order may be made by –

(1) a judge of the Court of Appeal;

(2) a judge of the High Court; or

(3) a Designated Civil Judge or their appointed deputy in the County Court,

where the party against whom the order is made persists in issuing claims or making applications which are totally without merit, in circumstances where an extended civil restraint order would not be sufficient or appropriate.

4.2 Unless the court otherwise orders, where the court makes a general civil restraint order, the party against whom the order is made –

(1) will be restrained from issuing any claim or making any application in –

(a) any court if the order has been made by a judge of the Court of Appeal;

(b) the High Court or the County Court if the order has been made by a judge of the High Court; or

(c) the County Court identified in the order if the order has been made by a Designated Civil Judge or their appointed deputy, without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order;

(2) may apply for amendment or discharge of the order provided he has first obtained the permission of a judge identified in the order; and

(3) may apply for permission to appeal the order and if permission is granted, may appeal the order.

4.3 Where a party who is subject to a general civil restraint order –

(1) issues a claim or makes an application in a court identified in the order without first obtaining the permission of a judge identified in the order, the claim or application will automatically be struck out or dismissed –

(a) without the judge having to make any further order; and

(b) without the need for the other party to respond to it;

(2) repeatedly makes applications for permission pursuant to that order which are totally without merit, the court may direct that if the party makes any further application for permission which is totally without merit, the decision to dismiss that application will be final and there will be no right of appeal, unless the judge who refused permission grants permission to appeal.

4.4 A party who is subject to a general civil restraint order may not make an application for permission under paragraphs 4.2(1) or 4.2(2) without first serving notice of the application on the other party in accordance with paragraph 4.5.

4.5 A notice under paragraph 4.4 must –

(1) set out the nature and grounds of the application; and

(2) provide the other party with at least 7 days within which to respond.

4.6 An application for permission under paragraphs 4.2(1) or 4.2(2) –

(1) must be made in writing;

(2) must include the other party’s written response, if any, to the notice served under paragraph 4.4; and

(3) will be determined without a hearing.

4.7 An order under paragraph 4.3(2) may only be made by –

(1) a Court of Appeal judge;

(2) a High Court judge; or

(3) a Designated Civil Judge or their appointed deputy.

4.8 Where a party makes an application for permission under paragraphs 4.2(1) or 4.2(2) and permission is refused, any application for permission to appeal –

(1) must be made in writing; and

(2) will be determined without a hearing.

4.9 A general civil restraint order –

(1) will be made for a specified period not exceeding 2 years;

(2) must identify the courts in which the party against whom the order is made is restrained from issuing claims or making applications; and

(3) must identify the judge or judges to whom an application for permission under paragraphs 4.2(1), 4.2(2) or 4.8 should be made.

4.10 The court may extend the duration of a general civil restraint order, if it considers it appropriate to do so, but it must not be extended for a period greater than 2 years on any given occasion.

4.11 If they consider that it would be appropriate to make a general civil restraint order –

(1) a Master or a District Judge in a district registry of the High Court must transfer the proceedings to a High Court judge; and

(2) a Circuit Judge or a District Judge in the County Court must transfer the proceedings to the Designated Civil Judge.

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General

5.1 The other party or parties to the proceedings may apply for any civil restraint order.

5.2 An application under paragraph 5.1 must be made using the Part 23 procedure unless the court otherwise directs and the application must specify which type of civil restraint order is sought.

5.3 Examples of a limited civil restraint order, an extended civil restraint order and a general civil restraint order are annexed to this practice direction. These examples may be modified as appropriate in any particular case.

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Form N19

Limited Civil Restraint Order (PDF - opens in new window)

Form N19A

Extended Civil Restraint Order (PDF - opens in new window)

Form N19B

General Civil Restraint Order (PDF - opens in new window)

Ministry of Justice

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