Case details

Takhar (Appellant) v Gracefield Developments Limited and others (Respondents)

Case ID: UKSC 2017/0072

Case summary

Issue(s)

Whether a party who seeks to set aside a judgment on the basis that it was obtained by fraud must demonstrate that he or she could not have discovered the fraud by the exercise of reasonable (or due) diligence at the time of the original trial.

Facts

On 28 July 2010, H.H. Judge Purle QC in the High Court dismissed the Appellant’s claim that she had transferred the beneficial ownership in several properties to the First Respondent as a result of undue influence and other unconscionable conduct on the part of the Second and Third Respondent. The crucial piece of evidence to the Judge’s finding was a joint venture agreement between the parties dated 1 April 2006 which bore the signature of the Appellant. The Appellant had maintained that she had never seen this document until the dispute arose.

The Appellant raised a new claim on 20 December 2013 which argued, based on the assessment of a handwriting expert, that her signature on the agreement dated 1 April 2006 was forged. The Respondents submitted that the new claim should be struck out as an abuse of process. On 6 May 2015, Newey J in the High Court held that the new claim was not an abuse of process and also held that a party who seeks to set aside a judgment on the basis that it was obtained by fraud did not have to demonstrate that she could not have discovered the fraud at the time of the original trial by the exercise of reasonable diligence (the "reasonable diligence requirement"). The Respondents appealed to the Court of Appeal which reversed the decision of Newey J, finding that the reasonable diligence requirement did apply where a party sought to have an earlier judgment set aside on the basis of fraud.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 147

Parties

Appellant(s)

Balbar Kaur Takhar

Respondent(s)
  1. Gracefield Developments Limited
  2. Dr Kewal Singh Krishan
  3. Mrs Parkash Kaur Krishan

Appeal

Justices

Lord Kerr, Lord Sumption, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin

Hearing start date

10 Oct 2018

Hearing finish date

10 Oct 2018

Watch hearing
10 Oct 2018 Morning session Afternoon session