The High Court has allowed a Kent law firm to come off the record for a woman whose divorced husband has waged a campaign of harassment against it and her for many years.
Mr Justice Mostyn said that, while it may not have been “strictly necessary” for Thomson Snell & Passmore to seek his permission to come off the record, “it is as well to have the court’s approbation”.
The divorce of airline captain Richard Wilmot and his wife Viki, now Maughan, took place in 2001, but the financial remedy proceedings were not resolved until 2007. In 2011, Ms Maughan started enforcement proceedings, which continued for several years and were played out in the national press.
In 2019, when he imposed a general civil restraint order and injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Mostyn J described Mr Wilmot’s constant emailing and court applications as “one of the worst cases of vexatious litigation misconduct that I have ever encountered”.
He had targeted Ms Maughan, her children, her solicitors and the court “unrestrained”.
Shortly before that hearing, Mr Wilmot instructed Stephen Meachem of London firm Law Tribe to represent him, Mostyn J recorded in his latest ruling from October – but only published yesterday – that relations between the two broke down, leading Mr Meachem to apply successfully last June to come off the record.
The judge said: “The moratorium in the bombardment by Mr Wilmot during the period of the retainer of Mr Meachem came to an abrupt end and Mr Wilmot recommenced with a vengeance his allegations that the orders were invalid and that they were never properly served.”
Again Thomson Snell and partner Sarah Judd were on the receiving end, while the judge said the court had received around 50 emails in four months.
Mr Wilmot also “sought to report Mrs Judd to the police” and breached the terms of the non-harassment order by communicating with her directly.
As a result, Mostyn J said, Thomson Snell has had to instruct its insurers, who in turn have instructed City firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.
The judge extended the general civil restraint order for two years and allowed the law firm to come off the record.
“I also make, should it be needed, an order granting those solicitors, as one of their final acts, permission to disclose documents, pleadings, statements in these proceedings to the solicitors for their insurers, and additionally to disclose the general civil restraint order, the order made today, and the order under the Protection from Harassment Act made in October 2019 to the Metropolitan Police.”
He also ordered Mr Wilmot to pay costs on the indemnity basis of £15,500.