Broxton v McClelland

Reference: [1995] EMLR 485

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Nourse, Simon Brown and Waite LJJ

Date of judgment: 30 Jan 1995

Summary: Defamation - libel - abuse of process - collateral purpose - striking out

Appearances: Patrick Milmo KC - Leading Counsel (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: Bindman & Partners for the Defendant


The Claimant was maintained by the Chequepoint Group in her libel action. The Defendant was in a serious and acrimonious commercial dispute with Chequepoint.


Whether it was an abuse of the process that the Claimant was being maintained by someone with an interest in damaging the Defendant. Assuming good faith on the part of the Claimant, would bad faith on the part of the maintainer justify striking out the claim for abuse of process.


It would not be right to allow the maintainer’s motives to infect what would otherwise be the Claimant’s lawful purpose.
The motive and intention of a litigant (save where malice is in issue) are irrelevant. The institution of proceedings due to an ulterior motive is not an abuse of process. So long as a litigant is lawfully entitled to accept a maintainer’s funding the litigant will not be vulnerable to attack because of the maintainer’s motivation.


The essence of this decision is that so long as there is a properly arguable case a claimant’s motivation will not constitute an abuse.