1 User Commentary
28 September 2015
Case Digest: HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Appellant) v Apex Global Management Ltd and another (Respondents)  UKSC 64
Whether HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ("the Prince") was entitled to relief from sanctions.
Judgment was handed down in the case of HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mishal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Appellant) v Apex Global Management Ltd and another (Respondents)  UKSC 64 on 26 November 2014. The litigation arose following a breakdown in relations between the Prince, as owner of Global Torch Ltd ("Global"), and Apex with which Global had entered into a joint-venture by establishing Fi Call Ltd. The Prince appealed against a decision of the Court of Appeal that upheld a series of case management decisions by Vos J, Norris J and Mann J sitting in the Chancery Division.
Lord Neuberger gave the main judgment. The order of Vos J, which the Prince failed to comply with, that each party file and serve a disclosure statement certified by a personally signed Statement of Truth, was within the margin accorded to the case management decision. The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and Practice Direction suggest that the standard form of disclosure requires personal signatures, as Vos J and the Court of Appeal had recognised. It is self-evident that litigants should obey court orders and where disobediance continues, that a sanction is liable to be enforced. The argument that he was unable to do so because he was a member of the Saudi Royal Family was not a convincing explanation.
As to the payment of the $6 million in relief sought by Apex, on which Hildyard J had already refused summary judgment, Lord Neuberger said that the strength of a party's case on the merits of the proceedings is generally irrelevant to case management issues of the sort being contested. He was wary of interfering with guidance given or principles laid down by the Court of Appeal on case management or the CPR. issues such as those raised are primarily for the Court of Appeal to resolve. The preceding case management decisions were correct in principle.
After judgment was handed down, Hildyard J gave judgment in the principal action adjourning the trial until 2015. The Court declared themselves not placed to reconsider the decision in light of the development. Any reconsideration, revocation or modification of orders appropriate it is a matter for the Chancery Division, as is dealing with the $6 million in relief sought by Apex.
Appeal dismissed (Lord Clarke dissenting). Counsel should draw up and agree a form of order giving effect to the decision.
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