"And therefore your honour, I rest my case, consensus ad idem, I object"
A litigant-in-person has been hit with a bill of almost £100,000 in costs, after the court slammed him for being "difficult to deal with, condescending" and "offensive".
Sir Henry Royce Memorial, a charitable foundation, brought a claim in the High Court for costs on an indemnity basis against former finance director Mark Hardy. The claim followed a previous trial where Hardy had accused Sir Henry Royce Memorial and its directors of fraud and false accounting.
Hardy's accusations of wrongdoing by the directors were unproven. And the court ruled that his request for inspection of documents under the Companies Act was invalid, and not made for a proper purpose.
Judge Paul Matthews ruled that Hardy had a "rather condescending manner" and exhibited "unnecessary" behaviour when dealing with the other side, which resulted in "more time and resources" being spent on the "problems of tone and language than in addressing the real issues in the case."
The judge said the matter did not require "such disproportionate efforts" from Hardy, and highlighted his "excessive correspondence", which ran to two lever arch files for the trial bundle. Hardy had also exhibited a 500 page transcript of a particular meeting, which the judge noted was not "more than remotely relevant to the issues in the case".
Hardy had "vigorously" insisted that a remote trial of his claim should be live streamed on the internet because there would be a great public interest with "possibly hundreds of requests to join". However, no more than 14 members of the public requested the link.
The judge said Hardy should not be excused for his behaviour just because he was a litigant-in-person. The problem was that Hardy had "no sense of responsibility to the system" and "no duty of the kind that would be owed by a lawyer to the court," said the judge.
The claimant sought to recover costs estimated at around £163,000 on an indemnity basis. The judge said the size of the costs was "significant" and while they may be justified, "are somewhat larger than I would have expected for what is essentially a short point under the Companies Act."
The judge ordered Hardy to pay 60% of the costs upfront, with the remainder going for detailed assessment.