Claim No: CFI-020-2014
THE DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE COURTS
IN THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
BEFORE JUSTICE SIR JEREMY COOKE
GFH CAPITAL LIMITED
DAVID LAWRENCE HAIGH
ORDER WITH REASONS OF JUSTICE SIR JEREMY COOKE
UPON the Defendant’s Application dated 2 July 2018 seeking an adjournment of the trial and various orders
AND UPON hearing Counsel for the Claimant during Day 2 of trial
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1.The Defendant’s application is dismissed on all grounds put forward.
2.The trial listed for 4 days commencing 1 July 2018 shall continue.
Ayesha Bin Kalban
Date of issue: 2 July 2018
SCHEDULE OF REASONS
1.This Court has received overnight and early this morning about 4 emails coming from Mr. Haigh’s email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those emails all have the sender as a Mr. L Lopez. The first of such email timed at 5:25am this morning, the beginning of words “this message bounced back so sending in four emails“. The email was said to be sent on behalf of Mr Haigh quote by way of service on the Claimant and the Court, and attached the application notice and a draft order. It also says that Mr. Haigh would be allowed to speak to the Court on 11 GMT until 12 GMT on Monday, that is today.
2.A second email said to be two of four came in exactly the same terms as the first other than that numbering, also sent at 5:28 am containing Mr. Haigh’s witness statement and an exhibit to it which is a redacted letter dated the 4th of April 2018 of a Dr Muller- Pollard. The Witness statement was dated the 30th of June 2018 and throughout to some 49 pages and is apparently signed by Mr. Haigh.
3.The third email of 5:29am in identical terms save it was said to be 3/3 was accompanied by a witness statement of a Mr. Herve Jaubert also dated 30th of June 2018 signed by him.
4.A fourth email timed at 5:52am refers to an early email sent to the Registry in relation to the application to adjourn and asserted that DIFC Courts had been by calling Mr Haigh’s number and vice versa.
5.All of this has to be seen in the context of the prior history of this matter. In particular, following the production of a draft amended defence of the counterclaim which is the subject of this Court’s consideration in some time ago, the Defendant, Mr. Haigh, has failed to engage with the Court in any way until the 28th of June, the last business for a date fixed for trial of which Mr Haigh was well aware, and Mr. Haigh had chosen to claim no task In the proceedings in terms of providing disclosure, in terms of providing any witness statements, of submitting hearsay notices or doing anything to indicate that he would participate in the trial process.
6.The reality of the matter is, as submitted by Mr Bodnar, is that Mr Haigh only engages with proceedings when he wishes to do so and as the matter of almost invariable practice seeks adjournments of hearings rather interlocutory hearing or other hearings at the last moment.
7.There is only one conceivable basis on which this Court could consider and grant an adjournment of the hearing which has now been proceeding for a day in this Court and that would be on the basis of genuine medical unfitness to attend the hearing.
8.The Court has gone out of its way in the past to seek to pursue the attendance of Mr. Haigh at this hearing whether in any way which he chose, he could come personally to this Court if he were able to do so, though this Court has no control of the immigration processes of Dubai or the UAE.
9.Bearing that in mind, the Court was willing to facilitate attendance by Mr. Haigh by Video Conference, by Skype or by telephone. It is noteworthy that Mr. Haigh did attend the Court of Appeal hearing last year by telephone and was able to participate in the hearing in that way and to make such submissions as he wished to make, despite protestations to the country in the latest witness statement that had just been received from him.
10.The past history of this matter shows once again a propensity on the part of Mr. Haigh to put forward medical grounds or seeking adjournment without any adequate medical evidence to support the assertions which he makes as to his incapacity or inability to attend and participate in the proceedings.
11.The effect of Mr Haigh’s evidence and statements to this Court is that he was taken to hospital on the 30th of June and was then not in a position to communicate with the Court.
12.In fact, as appears, he has been able to make such communication by one means or another using Mr. Lopez apparently for a purpose by producing a lengthy witness statement on the 30th of June. There is attached to the witness statement a heavily redacted photocopy of a letter which I supposed is dated the 4th of April 2018, the addressee of that letter has been blocked out. His diagnoses that is referred to is that PTSD, ADHD and opiate dependence. There’s reference to depression (in remission) and benzodiazepine
13.The letter refers to an admission to Nightingale Hospital and treatment for the various diagnoses as referred to above. His condition was said to be stabilised during that admission, whenever it was. The letter goes on to say that following his discharge, he had been reviewed by Mr. Muller- Pollard, that he reduced his buprenorphine medication and powerful other sorts of medication was also stopped.
14.When reviewed last on the 9th of January 2018, he had been unable further to reduce his buprenorphine in the community.
15.There follows in this letter dated 4th of April a recommendation of admission to the hospital and twice weekly individual psychological therapy. Large elements of the letter are blanked out, so it is impossible to see exactly what it being said and when but it is so evident that this letter has nothing much evidence with the current condition or Mr. Haigh nor his supposed admission to the hospital in the last few days.
16.In the witness statement at paragraph 48, Mr Haigh cites the basis upon which an adjournment is needed on medical grounds. He attaches the letter and then at paragraph 51 refers to a content labels a doctor who is unidentified, a hospital which is unidentified and a recommendation for emergency hospitalisation. He says the letter from the doctor will be provided on either Monday or Tuesday.
17.He then sets out without stating what it is or what it appears to be, either an email or a letter from an unidentified person who the Court has presumed to be a doctor, one imagines. This letter or email is apparently addressed to Mr. Haigh with copies to charge nurses on the subject of admission. It refers to “your admission on Saturday 30th of June 2018” and a meeting at the clinical team which decided as the team would not be able to commence actual treatment over the weekend but would stick to the plan on admitting you on Saturday, that is the 30th of June, and commencing treatment on a date which is not given. Further on, however, there is reference to the team advising that if any immediate risk arises, help should be sought through local emergency services. The letter is apparently dated the 29th of June.
18.There appears, therefore, to be a question of emergency hospitalisation at all. The form of this evidence is deeply unsatisfactory.
19.This Court has made its claim in the past that if any adjournment is to be sought on medical grounds, it must be properly supported by adequate medical evidence. This evidence is by no means adequate.
20.The Court is unable to take Mr. Haigh’s say so as representing the true situation. It needs medical evidence from qualified medical practitioners that set out the inability of Mr Haigh to participate in the trial, perhaps it’s not been forthcoming.
21.The conduct of Mr. Haigh in relation to this application is of the same kind as that seen of the Court before. I am not satisfied that there is a grave medical condition which would justify adjournment and can say that this advocation is again simply a late attempt to derail the proceedings in circumstances where there have been exchanges between the Court and Mr. Haigh over the last few days where he has attempted much the same without making any proper advocation.
22.I should say that this application itself has not been filed with payment of the appropriate fees, another matter that I have course to consider in the past and probably which I have made decisions and made it clear that proper applications had to be made with payment of fees unless evidence is induced which would justify the Court in thinking that a waiver of fees was appropriate.
23.Haigh’s conduct in that regard has been deficient in relation to disclosure of his assets and the Court has not had put before it any material that shows that there is an inability to pay fees. The fact that he has been able to utilise the services lawyers as when he needs to in the UK in particular in the last few months reinforces the conclusion to which the Court has come on this aspect. When Mr. Haigh wishes to, he is able to find lawyers to represent him. When he does not wish to, he puts himself forward as a litigant in person who is disabled and unable to present a case to Court, as shown by his participation in the Court of Appeal, he has the ability to make such presentation as he wishes, he is a qualified solicitor, he is fully committed with all the issues which arise in the present matter which have been the subject of any number of applications over the period of some four years.
24.I am also satisfied because I am told I will be shortly receiving a witness statement to this effect that Mr. Haigh has received all the trial documents in hard copy and he has had full notice of the proceedings and all the material which has been presented in these proceedings.
25.What goes on in this Court is a matter of public record and as I understand it is not only recorded but is available to the public to see so that the Court of these proceedings are utterly transparent.
26.The lengthy statement of Mr. Haigh on a number of areas to which this Court has already dealt. Most are areas which are irrelevant to current proceedings. The Court has made its decision about its own jurisdiction, the Court has drawn attention to the limits of its own powers, and the Court must proceed to deal with the order to do justice to the parties following and extensive and protracted delays which have already occurred.
27.This Court will not be making any telephone calls to the Defendant and had attempted to do so yesterday in order to give the Defendant Mr Haigh an opportunity to make such submissions as he wished, the Court has said a remains open for Mr Haigh to participate in the trial in the manners previously indicated to him, but so evidently in the context of what has already occurred, there will come a point where the Court may no longer take such a view because he has deliberately chosen to ignore the proceedings and not to participate in them, but instead to seek adjournment on wholly inadequate and what appeared to the Court to be.
28.I supposed I ought to mention the witness statement which as far as I can see contains nothing that impacts upon the matters this Court has to consider.
29.In most circumstances, each and every order sought by Mr Haigh in his application is refused; the essential one being the application for an adjournment of the longer of either 8 weeks or 2 weeks of his supposed release from the hospital, advocations for striking out bundles of documents and evidence produced by the Claimant are also dismissed in circumstances where those matters have been served upon Mr Haigh and he chose to do nothing about them for a period of many months.
30.Most of the other matters which are raised in the advocation on subparagraphs (e) to (k) are matters this Court has already dealt with, already said it is unable to deal with or has fallen already outside its jurisdiction and powers.
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