Malicious Prosecution of Civil Proceedings

Posted on: August 11th, 2016

The Supreme Court in Willers v Joyce [2016] UKSC 43 has held that it is open to a defendant to an underlying civil court action to bring a claim against an unsuccessful claimant for malicious prosecution. The claim by the applicant, which was to recover costs in excess of those awarded on a standard basis in the underlying claim plus damages for loss of reputation, health and earnings, was not an abuse of the court’s process. Whilst it was understandable the costs had been awarded on a standard basis in the underlying claim, there is little doubt that the costs order did not make good the loss suffered by the applicant as a result of the vexatious proceedings. In giving judgment the Supreme Court held that their finding did not impose a duty of care on litigants towards their opposing party and there was no need for a reciprocal right to be given to a claimant to sue for a malicious defence of a civil claim.