Maughan v Wilmot [2019] EWHC 2765 (Fam)


  • Husband
    (“H”), Captain Wilmot, and wife (“W”), Ms Maughan, married in 1991 and the
    marriage came to an end in 1999.
  • There
    was a final order made in financial remedies proceedings in 2001.
  • H,
    however, continued to make applications to the court and to harass both the
    court and W’s solicitor (via her domestic email address).
  • In
    2014 Mr Justice Mostyn made an extended civil restraint order against H, which
    prevented him from making applications without permission.
  • As
    a result, W incurred significant costs.


  • H
    made the following applications to the court:

    • the
      court did not have jurisdiction to make the original financial remedies order
      (in 2001); and
    • the
      order empowering a receiver to collect the judgment debt from his pension was
  • W
    sought the following:

    • An
      order for W’s costs incurred (£42,098) and anticipated further costs (£2,040).
    • An
      order for the receiver’s costs incurred (£4,613) and anticipated future costs.
    • Orders
      allowing the sums to be collected from H’s pension.
    • A
      general civil restraint order against H for 2 years.
    • An
      order pursuant to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 restraining H from
      harassing: W, two of the parties’ children, W’s solicitor, and W’s barrister.
    • An
      extension of the existing freezing order.


  • Mostyn
    J begun by dismissing both applications made by H. He also directed that the
    decision was final and there was no right of appeal (pursuant to FPR PD4B 3.3).
  • Mostyn
    J then addressed W’s application and made all of the orders she sought.
  • In
    making the costs orders, including those for anticipated costs, Mostyn J
    acknowledged that they were extensive. However, he noted that H’s conduct was “abysmal” and at “the top end of misconduct for the purposes of CPR 44.2(4)(a)
  • Further,
    a sum of £100,000 of H’s assets was frozen, to allow some headroom over the
    overall figure of the costs orders (£68,307). Mostyn J justified this by
    stating that he expected H to “engage in
    more vexatious conduct generating further costs on the part of the applicant
    and the receiver
    .” [23]
  • The
    order made against H was a general civil restraint order. This order went
    further than the previous extended civil restraint order in that it required H
    to apply to a named Judge (Mostyn J) in order to receive permission make an
    application to the court, rather than the court generally (FPR PD4B 4.2).
  • A
    general civil restraint order can only be made if an extended civil restraint order
    is insufficient (FPR PD4B 4.1). Mostyn J found the test was met and described
    H’s approach as “one of the worst cases
    of vexatious litigation misconduct I have ever encountered
    ” [24].
  • Mostyn
    J also found that H was likely to continue to make vexatious applications, and
    it would not be reasonable to expect W to return to court every 2 years to
    renew the general civil restraint order.
  • Mostyn
    J therefore directed that a copy of the judgment should be supplied to the
    Attorney General, and asked the Attorney General to give careful consideration
    to making an application for an indefinite civil proceedings order pursuant to
    s. 42(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (such applications are made at the suit
    of the Attorney General).
  • Finally,
    H applied for: a) an amplification of the judgment; b) permission to appeal. Mostyn
    J rejected both applications noting that H sought to take points which were not
    argued at the hearing and to reargue points which had already been rejected.