A spectacularly Misleading Case – nested in a real one

25 November 2014 by

Alastair Sim  'Misleading Cases' (1971)Islamic Investment Co v. Symphony Gems & Mehta, 19 November 2014, Hamblen J – judgment here

Hamblen J observed that “the facts…are so extraordinary that they could have come from one of A.P. Herbert’s “Misleading Cases”. Yes indeed. A solicitor decided to make up three years of litigation, writing some fake judgments, pretending to instruct barristers, and churning out fictitious correspondence.

Why? It is not clear from the judgment, though one or two clues  are given. 

The fraud surfaced in a long-running dispute between a claimant finance company seeking repayment of a loan, and the first defendant, diamond traders, and the second and third defendant guarantors. The defendants now owe the claimant $14m. The defendants do not want to pay $14m, and have taken every point in resisting the claimant’s attempts to secure its money – so much so that in October 2010 David Steel J decided that the second defendant, Mr Rajesh Mehta go to prison for his refusal to explain where his assets were, by activating a previously suspended committal order.

The current application was Mr Mehta’s application to set aside all adverse court orders. His reasons – my solicitor had acted against me, and was deliberately trying to prejudice me in my affairs in making up all this litigation.

The story emerges from the files of Byrne & Partners LLP, solicitors for Mr Mehta, and “generated” by one Mr Benson, unsurprisingly under investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Metropolitan Police.

The made-up litigation ran from October 2010 to December 2013.

At the beginning of this period, Mr Benson went before the (real) court and said he was without instructions from Mr Mehta. The court duly activated the committal order and ordered Mr Mehta’s arrest.

Mr Mehta’s response was to ask Mr Benson to appeal that order. Mr Benson did not do so, but, from the file, just pretended to do so. So, to that end, he “instructed” barrister Lord MacDonald QC who “provided” a note in order to speed up the (imaginary) appeal. When taxed with a lack of progress by Mr Mehta, Mr Benson blamed leading counsel for the delay (even though he never got the papers), and drafted an email complaining about this. There followed (equally imaginary) letters to Mrs Justice Glouster (pity about the spelling), complaints about David Steel J’s conduct of the original committal proceedings, letters to the Civil Appeals Office, draft skeleton arguments by Lord MacDonald QC, and a telephone conference with Mr Mehta, Mr Benson and somebody impersonating Mr Benson’s senior partner – later in the saga someone pretended to be Edward Fitzgerald QC in another telephone conference.

Mr Benson’s ingenuity appears to have known no bounds. He drafted a consent order under which his client had to lodge £25,000 to act as security for his client’s attendance at court, and Mr Mehta paid this. He complained that Sales J in open court sitting in the Commercial Court had given assurances that he would “turn his mind to the issues” – which he didn’t, unsurprisingly because the hearing never happened, and Sales J does not sit in the Commercial Court. All along, Mr Mehta was getting more frantic that his appeal was getting nowhere.

Mr Justice Blair (who is a judge of the Commercial Court), Mr Justice Hutchinson (who has not existed for a good 20 years), and Mrs Justice Proudman (in fact a Chancery judge) then make walk-on appearances in this fictional tour of the Commercial Division. Edward Fitzgerald QC arrives as counsel, except he doesn’t. Mr Justice Teare suspends the committal order, except he doesn’t.

Finally, in February 2012, Mr Benson gets his fictional day in the Court of Appeal, in front of Moore-Bick and Richards LJJ, and Sir David Latham, who remit the case for reconsideration, in 37 plausibly reasoned paragraphs. The judgment is in Westlaw format, with the neutral citation [2012] EWCA Civ 409  But if you click on that, you end up in front of a different Court of Appeal in a case about a holiday caravan park.

As our real judge comments,

Hence by this point Mr Benson had constructed a fiction in which RM was effectively back to square one.

And 16 months had gone by.

But there was more to come, Gloster J now makes another appearance.  The Court of Appeal finalises its order, directing Mr Mehta to pay €3m into court, and surrender his passport. Mr Mehta meets Mr Benson in Brussels and Antwerp to discuss next steps.  And in September 2012 Dobbs J strays from her Queen’s Bench Division, to give a 7 page judgment. Complaints about her lack of response thereafter to imaginary letters. The CA makes fresh orders in January 2013. Popplewell J conducts a hearing in February 2013, and in May 2013 the CA (Jackson, Arden LJJ and Sir Scott Baker) upholds Popplewell J’s order. All made up.

In late 2013, Mr Mehta and another solicitor (Mr Sanghvi) start getting suspicious. They start chasing the transcribers of the “hearing” before Popplewell J. Mr Benson quickly obliges with another of his fictions, but by now Mr Sanghvi is inquiring direct of the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal, and of counsel supposedly instructed. And so in December 2013 the truth comes out. All lies. Mr Mehta has been strung along, and has been prevented from entering the UK, causing distress to himself, his partner and his children (who live in the UK).

Motive for a solicitor to stymie his client’s appeal? Not money, because in three years of expensive litigation, Byrnes have only apparently received £25,000. There is some evidence of a bitter family feud, and of parties who might have an interest in Mr Mehta failing in all aspects of the English litigation. But, as the judge advises at [105], all this is speculation.


At the moment, like the judge, all we can do is speculate. If of a certain frame of mind, we may admire the brazenness of the fraud and its complexity, but rejoice in the stupid errors, the misspelt names, the judges in the wrong division, and the neutral citation number which leads to an entirely different case. And we will doubtless follow Mr Benson through the various investigations to which he is subject.

But what happened to Mr Mehta in the real litigation, once the fake one had come to an end and he was still stuck with the committal order?

He had to show that Mr Benson had been acting contrary to his interests before the critical order in October 2010. On the facts Hamblen J considered that this was made out, and that this misconduct had affected the outcome of the hearing before David Steel J which activated the committal order. All previous (real) orders remain in place, so some time Mr Mehta will have to give a full account of his assets.

Sign up to free human rights updates by email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS

Related posts:

  • There aren’t any!


  1. Andrew says:

    Oh come off it, rough sleeper. If you seriously think solicitors regularly fake orders by judges who are retired or dead and were in another Division when they were alive and sitting, can I interest you in shares in my Atlantic Tunnel Company? Or in my Anti-Paranoia Helmet Company?

  2. Rough Sleeper says:

    I believe that such solicitor deceit is very common within the UK Justice system, and that most clients never get to know why things are going terribly wrong for them, and why such injustice is taking place. They are told by their solicitor, that the Judges are prejudiced against them, for whatever reason that the solicitor makes up, and the client, in the face of no other input, believes them, abandons their case, pays the solicitor his fees, and sulks for the rest of his life.


Comments are closed.

Welcome to the UKHRB

This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.




7/7 Bombings 9/11 A1P1 Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology birds directive blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity circumcision citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Cologne Commission on a Bill of Rights common buzzard common law communications competition confidentiality confiscation order conscientious objection consent conservation constitution contact order contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus costs costs budgets Court of Protection crime criminal law Criminal Legal Aid criminal records Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty declaration of incompatibility defamation deficit DEFRA Democracy village Dennis Gill dentist's registration fees deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention devolution Dignitas dignity Dignity in Dying diplomacy director of public prosecutions disability Disability-related harassment disabled claimants disciplinary hearing disclosure Discrimination Discrimination law disease divorce DNA doctors does it matter? domestic violence Dominic Grieve don't ask don't ask don't tell don't tell Doogan and Wood double conviction DPP guidelines drones duty of care ECHR economic and social rights economic loss ECtHR Education election Employment Environment environmental information Equality Act Equality Act 2010 ethics Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice european disability forum European Sanctions Blog Eurozone euthanasia evidence Exclusion extra-jurisdictional reach of ECHR extra-territoriality extradition extradition act extradition procedures extradition review extraordinary rendition Facebook Facebook contempt facial recognition fair procedures Fair Trial faith courts fake news Family family courts family law family legal aid Family life fatal accidents act Fertility fertility treatment FGM fisheries fishing rights foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression freedom of information Freedom of Information Act 2000 freedom of movement freedom of speech free speech game birds gangbo gang injunctions Garry Mann gary dobson Gary McFarlane gay discrimination Gay marriage gay rights gay soldiers Gaza Gaza conflict Gender General Dental Council General Election General Medical Council genetic discrimination genetic engineering genetic information genetics genetic testing Google government Grenfell grooming Gun Control gwyneth paltrow gypsies habitats habitats protection Halsbury's Law Exchange hammerton v uk happy new year harassment Hardeep Singh Haringey Council Harkins and Edwards Health healthcare health insurance Heathrow heist heightened scrutiny Henry VII Henry VIII herd immunity hereditary disorder High Court of Justiciary Hirst v UK HIV HJ Iran HM (Iraq) v The Secretary of state for the home department [2010] EWCA Civ 1322 Holder holkham beach holocaust homelessness Home Office Home Office v Tariq homeopathy hooding Hounslow v Powell House of Commons Housing housing benefits Howard League for Penal Reform how judges decide cases hra damages claim Hrant Dink HRLA HS2 hs2 challenge hts http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2011/04/11/us-state-department-reports-on-uk-human-rights/ Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority human genome human rights Human Rights Act Human Rights Act 1998 human rights advocacy Human rights and the UK constitution human rights commission human rights conventions human rights damages Human Rights Day human rights decisions Human Rights Information Project human rights news Human Rights Watch human right to education human trafficking hunting Huntington's Disease HXA hyper injunctions Igor Sutyagin illegality defence immigration Immigration/Extradition Immigration Act 2014 immigration appeals immigration detention immigration judge immigration rules immunity increase of sanction India Indonesia Infrastructure Planning Committee inherent jurisdiction inherited disease Inhuman and degrading treatment injunction Inquest Inquests insult insurance insurmountable obstacles intelligence services act intercept evidence interception interests of the child interim remedies international international conflict international criminal court international humanitarian law international human rights international human rights law international law international treaty obligations internet internet service providers internment internship inuit investigation investigative duty in vitro fertilisation Iran iranian bank sanctions Iranian nuclear program Iraq Iraqi asylum seeker Iraq War Ireland irrationality islam Israel Italy iTunes IVF ivory ban jackson reforms Janowiec and Others v Russia ( Japan Jason Smith Jeet Singh Jefferies Jeremy Corbyn jeremy hunt job Jogee John Hemming John Terry joint enterprise joint tenancy Jon Guant Joseph v Spiller journalism judaism judges Judges and Juries judging Judicial activism judicial brevity judicial deference judicial review Judicial Review reform judiciary Julian Assange jurisdiction jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Act Justice and Security Bill Justice and Security Green Paper Justice Human Rights Awards JUSTICE Human Rights Awards 2010 justification just satisfaction Katyn Massacre Kay v Lambeth Kay v UK Ken Clarke Ken Pease Kerry McCarthy Kettling Kings College Klimas koran burning Labour Lady Hale lansley NHS reforms LASPO Law Commission Law Pod UK Law Society Law Society of Scotland leave to enter leave to remain legal aid legal aid cuts Legal Aid desert Legal Aid Reforms legal blogs Legal Certainty legal naughty step Legal Ombudsman legal representation legitimate expectation let as a dwelling Leveson Inquiry Levi Bellfield lewisham hospital closure lgbtq liability Libel libel reform Liberal Democrat Conference Liberty libraries closure library closures Libya licence conditions licence to shoot life insurance life sentence life support limestone pavements limitation lisbon treaty Lithuania Litigation litvinenko live exports local authorities locked in syndrome london borough of merton London Legal Walk London Probation Trust Lord Bingham Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Blair Lord Goldsmith lord irvine Lord Judge speech Lord Kerr Lord Lester Lord Neuberger Lord Phillips Lord Rodger Lord Sumption Lord Taylor LSC tender luftur rahman machine learning MAGA Magna Carta mail on sunday Majority Verdict Malcolm Kennedy malice Margaret Thatcher Margin of Appreciation margin of discretion Maria Gallastegui marriage material support maternity pay Matthew Woods Mattu v The University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2068 (QB) Maya the Cat Mba v London Borough Of Merton McKenzie friend Media and Censorship Medical medical liability medical negligence medical qualifications medical records medicine mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Capacity Act 2005 Mental Health mental health act mental health advocacy mental health awareness Mental Health Courts Mental illness merits review MGN v UK michael gove Midwives migrant crisis Milly Dowler Ministerial Code Ministry of Justice Ministry of Justice cuts misfeasance in public office modern slavery morality morocco mortuaries motherhood Motor Neurone disease Moulton Mousa MP expenses Mr Gul Mr Justice Eady MS (Palestinian Territories) (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department murder murder reform Musician's Union Muslim NADA v. SWITZERLAND - 10593/08 - HEJUD [2012] ECHR 1691 naked rambler Naomi Campbell nationality National Pro Bono Week national security Natural England nature conservation naturism Nazi negligence Neuberger neuroscience Newcastle university news News of the World new Supreme Court President NHS NHS Risk Register Nick Clegg Nicklinson Niqaab Noise Regulations 2005 Northern Ireland nuclear challenges nuisance nursing nursing home Obituary Occupy London offensive jokes Offensive Speech offensive t shirt oil spill olympics open justice oppress OPQ v BJM orchestra Osama Bin Laden Oxford University paramountcy principle parental rights parenthood parking spaces parliamentary expenses parliamentary expenses scandal Parliamentary sovereignty Parliament square parole board passive smoking pastor Terry Jones patents Pathway Students Patrick Quinn murder Pensions persecution personal data Personal Injury personality rights perversity Peter and Hazelmary Bull PF and EF v UK Phil Woolas phone hacking phone taps physical and mental disabilities physician assisted death Pinnock Piracy Plagiarism planning planning human rights planning system plebgate POCA podcast points Poland Police police investigations police liability police misconduct police powers police surveillance Policy Exchange report political judges Politics Politics/Public Order poor reporting Pope Pope's visit Pope Benedict portal possession proceedings power of attorney PoW letters to ministers pre-nup pre-nuptial Pre-trial detention predator control pregnancy press press briefing press freedom Prince Charles prince of wales princess caroline of monaco principle of subsidiarity prior restraint prison Prisoners prisoners rights prisoners voting prisoner vote prisoner votes prisoner voting prison numbers Prisons prison vote privacy privacy injunction privacy law through the front door Private life private nuisance private use proceeds of crime Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecution Protection of Freedoms Act Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest protest camp protest rights Protocol 15 psychiatric hospitals Public/Private public access publication public authorities Public Bodies Bill public inquiries public interest public interest environmental litigation public interest immunity Public Order Public Sector Equality Duty putting the past behind quango quantum quarantine Queen's Speech queer in the 21st century R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors [2011] EWCA Civ 895 R (on the application of) v The General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 2839 (Admin) R (on the application of EH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2569 (Admin) R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School Rabone and another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust [2012] UKSC 2 race relations Rachel Corrie Radmacher Raed Salah Mahajna Raed Saleh Ramsgate raptors rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion resuscitation RightsInfo right to die right to family life right to life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials security services sexual offence Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa south african constitution Spain special advocates spending cuts Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance swine flu Syria Tax Taxi technology Terrorism terrorism act tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine unfair consultation universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vaccination vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe


This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: