Court of Appeal Dismisses Challenge to Trial Judge’s Decision

The Court Of Appeal today handed down judgment in the matter of Patrick v McKinley [2017] EWCA Civ 2068, one of the final appeals heard by Lord Lloyd-Jones before his promotion to the Supreme Court. The Appellant made a root and branch attack on the trial judge’s dismissal of his claims to various proprietary interest in various properties and to a quantum meruit. The claims were said to arise out of promises made during a relationship spanning many years and the trial itself occupied 12 days during which the parties were cross-examined at length about their differing accounts of aspects of that relationship (including its intensity and seriousness). The trial judge rejected the Appellant’s evidence on most material issues but found the Respondent to be generally truthful.

The Appellant produced lengthy grounds and allegedly supporting documents on the basis of which he obtained permission to appeal but in giving its judgment the Court of Appeal dismissed each of the 10 complaints put forward. In doing so, the Court of Appeal re-stated the heavy burden on a party seeking to overturn findings of credibility, referring to the Supreme Court judgments in McGraddie v McGraddie [2013] UKSC 58 and Henderson v Foxworth Investments Ltd [2014] UKSC 41 and concluded that on none of the bases put forward did the Appellant come close to discharging that burden. The Appellant had been found to be a thoroughly dishonest witness and even on appeal a large number of those findings were not challenged; the Respondent by contrast had been found overall to be honest.

William McCormick QC and Angus Gloag (who had secured the victory at trial as sole counsel), instructed by Oliver Smith of Keystone Law represented the Respondent.

8th December 2017