Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 308 (Oct)
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Aldous, Tuckey and Longmore LJJ

Representation Christopher Floyd QC and Michael Tappin (instructed by SJ Berwin & Co) for the first claimant.
  Christopher Floyd QC and Adrian Speck (instructed by Taylor Wessing) for the second claimant.
  Simon Thorley QC and Colin Birss (instructed by Simmons & Simmons) for the defendant.
Judgment Dates: 22 October 2002


Patents - Natural justice - Fair hearing - Bias - Judicial intervention in cross-examination in patents proceedings.

The Case

Where a party appealed against a judge's conclusion in a patents case on the ground that the judge's interventions in cross-examination of a witness had been such as to create an appearance of bias, the true question was whether the nature and extent of the judge's interventions had been such as to render the proceedings unfair. In the instant case, when considered in context there was no doubt that the judge's part in the action as a whole had not been and would not have been seen to have been to be such as to render the trial unfair. Furthermore, cases in the patents court did not normally involve personal relations and therefore the losing party would usually accept the result without believing that it had not received a fair hearing. It was to be hoped that it would not be necessary for the Court of Appeal to consider a case involving such a belief again.

Practice Areas

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