Radcliffe Chambers logo

News and Cases

22.02.17

Workman v Forrester [2017] EWCA Civ 73

Katherine McQuail appeared for the Appellant in the Court of Appeal in the case of Workman v Forrester [2017] EWCA Civ 73 in which judgment was handed down on 21 February 2017. The hearing of the appeal attracted some attention in the press:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/15/millionaire-who-killed-his-wife-sued-by-sons-for-profiting-from

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/14/millionaire-killer-accused-profiting-wifes-murder-sued-sonsfor/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4223350/Sons-multi-millionaire-killer-suing-1-5m.html

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2865086/car-dealer-murdered-wife-sued-sons-divorce/

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/sons-sue-millionaire-businessman-who-murdered-his-wife-in-divorce-battle-a3466371.html

The Appellant was convicted of his ex-wife’s murder; her executrix and two of the sons of the marriage brought a claim for damages for her death against him.  Judgment was entered in default for a sum to be decided by the court.  At a CMC, at which directions were given for the assessment of damages hearing, an order was also made that, unless the Appellant produce the affidavit of assets required by the freezing injunction obtained against him, judgment be entered in default for £1.5 million.  The affidavit was not produced and judgment was duly entered.  The Appellant applied to set aside the unless order and the judgment.  The application was unsuccessful before the District Judge and the High Court Judge but permission was given for a second appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The Court of Appeal dismissed the Appellant’s appeal, as well as an appeal relating to the listing of the hearing of the return date for the freezing injunction.  The decision is no authority for the proper measure of damages for the novel ways in which the Respondents framed their claim for damages for the Appellant’s tort.  It is authority for the proposition that an unless order made against a Defendant may go so far as to make the entry of judgment for a specific sum the consequence of default, depriving the Defendant of the normal process by which the Claimant must prove his loss.

To read the full judgment please click here.