Supreme Court agrees to hear case on breach of unless order

Supreme Court: permission granted

The Supreme Court is to consider the consequences of failing to comply with an unless order for a second time, it has emerged.

The news came this week shortly before the court dealt with a similar case concerning a Saudi prince who did not comply with an unless order to sign a statement to truth.

A panel of three justices gave permission to appeal in Thevarajah (Respondent) v Riordan and others (Appellants).

On 13 May 2013, the respondent issued proceedings against the appellants alleging breach of a share purchase agreement and claiming that he had acquired shares in certain companies. The third appellant was a nominal party and has not participated in the proceedings.

On 9 May 2013, the respondent had obtained an ex parte freezing injunction against the appellants, which was continued on 17 May 2013 together with an order that the appellants disclose information relating to their assets.

The respondent obtained an unless order dated 21 June 2013, which provided that unless the appellants made disclosure by 1 July 2013 they would be debarred from defending the claim. The appellants failed to comply and their application for relief from sanctions was rejected on 9 August 2013.

On 1 October 2013, the appellants made a second application for relief from sanctions on the basis that they were in a position to disclose the required information.

The appeal will consider whether the Court of Appeal erred in holding that late compliance with the unless order could not amount to a material change of circumstances so as to justify the variation under the CPR 3.1(7) of an order debarring the appellants’ defence


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