We have previously discussed the judgment in libel proceedings brought by Jamal Hijazi against Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson).
Tommy Robinson was ordered to pay the Claimant a six-figure sum but failed to satisfy the debt. The Claimant, therefore, applied to Court for an order requiring Mr Robinson to attend Court for questioning on his finances. Mr Robinson failed to appear and accordingly on 8 April 2022, Mr Justice Hicklin issued an order confirming that ‘a prima facie case of contempt of court of court is made out’ as a result of Mr Robinson failing to attend when previously ordered to do. The Judge therefore also issued a summon of his own initiative, requiring Mr Robinson to attend Court on 6 May 2022.
Tommy Robinson High Court questioning over finances
Mr Robinson did attend the May hearing and answered a number of questions on his financial position. It is very apparent that he does not wish to give the Claimant any of the money ordered as he claimed that:
- He spent in excess of £100,000 gambling in the two years before he declared himself bankrupt;
- He owed HMRC an estimated sum of £160,000;
- He had suffered from mental health problems as a result of being harassed; and
- He struggled to get a bank account, having had his accounts with Natwest, Lloyds and HSBC closed down, and he now used an online bank that he refused to name.
It is fair to say that Mr Robinson painted a bleak financial picture. In answer to his claims in the book he wrote titled ‘Enemy of the State’ that he and his then-wife owned seven properties, Mr Robinson stated:
“I had a ghost-writer that helped me with the book. I like to give off the impression that I’m a successful man even when I’m not.”
Having failed to attend the original hearing for questioning, Mr Robinson now faces another hearing in August to determine if he is in contempt of Court. CPR Part 71.8 confirms:
“(1) If a person against whom an order has been made under rule 71.2 –
(a) fails to attend court;
(b) refuses at the hearing to take the oath or to answer any question…the court will refer the matter to a High Court judge or Circuit Judge.
(2) That judge may…hold the person in contempt of court and make an order punishing them by a fine, imprisonment, confiscation of assets or other punishment under the law.
(3) If such an order is made, the judge will direct that—
(a) the order shall be suspended, provided that the person—
(i) attends court at a time and place specified in the order; and
(ii) complies with all the terms of that order and the original order; and
(b) if the person fails to comply with any term on which the order is suspended, they shall be brought before a judge to consider whether the order should be discharged.”
Mr Robinson has now attended Court for questioning as ordered by the Court. This will weigh heavily in the balance in favour of Mr Robinson at the hearing in August. He was however been evasive in respect of the identity of the current bank that he uses and accordingly the Judge may still hold Mr Robinson in contempt of Court.
Applications to have a debtor against whom you have obtained a judgment to attend Court for questioning can be an important and, more importantly, cost-effective step in establishing whether there is a prospect of recovering the judgment debt. There are however alternative strategies, such as the service of a statutory demand. Service of a statutory demand does however carry certain risks to the person serving the demand and accordingly, it is essential that expert advice is sought before any steps are taken.
How can we help
Should you wish to discuss any issues you are having in respect of a person defaming you or in respect of enforcing a judgment that you have already obtained, please do not hesitate to contact Kevin or another member of the team in Derby, Leicester, or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online enquiry form.Contact us