Leeson & anr v McPherson [2024] WTLR 197

WTLR Issue: Spring 2024 #194







On 6 June 2017, Ms Leeson died in Denmark. Her husband, the defendant, was prosecuted and ultimately acquitted of her murder. After such acquittal, civil proceedings were issued alleging inter alia that the defendant unlawfully killed Ms Leeson and the inquest proceedings resumed. In the civil proceedings, the parties were ordered to and did produce a schedule of agreed facts. Such schedule was based on the disclosure in the civil proceedings, including third-party disclosure from the police. The claimants’ solicitors acting in the inquest proceedings asked for permission that such schedule could be referred to the coroner from the case management stage, with the inquest due to be heard after the civil proceedings. The claimants submitted that the schedule could be referred to under CPR 31.22(1)(a) or that permission should be given under CPR 31.22(1)(b). The defendant objected.


The schedule could not be referred to without permission under CPR 31.22(1)(a). The schedule made reference to disclosed documents rather than being a disclosed document itself and so the referenced documents were the documents referred to by CPR 31.22(1)(a). The schedule had only been included in the bundle and referenced once in the skeleton argument used for a hearing about the defendant’s previous convictions. The other documents referred to in the schedule had not been read to or read by the court.

Permission should be given to refer the schedule to the coroner under CPR 31.22(1)(b) without prejudice to its evidential status in the inquest because:

  • the same issues arose in the civil proceedings and in the inquest;
  • there was a proper purpose to the use because there was a clear public interest in the inquest;
  • the schedule would assist the coroner in case management of the inquest and in understanding the judgment of the civil proceedings, once given;
  • many of the documents referred to in the schedule had already been disclosed to the coroner;
  • it was highly likely that CPR 31.22(1)(a) would apply after the trial in the civil proceedings, given that the schedule contained admissions which the defendant was unlikely to be able to resile from even if he was seeking to do so;
  • reference would not cause significant prejudice to the defendant in that it was to be used for case management only and, by the time the inquest would consider substantive questions, the judgment in the civil proceedings would be available;
  • the defendant could challenge the evidential status of the schedule in the inquest; and
  • the schedule was not contentious.
JUDGMENT HHJ CAWSON KC: Introduction [1] The issue that arises for consideration is as to whether the Court should accede to a request made by Holborn Adams, Solicitors acting for the Claimants, in respect of the inquest (‘the Inquest’) of the late Paula Elizabeth Leeson (‘Ms Leeson’) by email dated 6 July 2023 for permission …
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Counsel Details

Tom Gosling (23 Essex Street, 1 Gray’s Inn Square, Holborn, London WC1R 5AA, tel 0161 870 9969, email clerks@23es.com), instructed by Glaisyers Solicitors LLP (Forum House, First Floor, 15-18 Lime Street, London EC3M 7AN, tel 020 3928 9800, email hello@glaisyers.com) for the claimants.

The defendant was not present or represented.

Cases Referenced

  • Bank of Crete SA v Kostakas (No.2) [1992] 1 WLR 919
  • Bayerische Landesbank Anstalt Des Offentlichen Rechts v Constantin Medien AG [2017] EWHC 131 (Comm)
  • Gilani v Saddiq & ors [2018] EWHC 3084 (Ch)
  • IG Index Ltd. v Cloete [2013] EWCA Civ 1128
  • Lakatamia Shipping Company Ltd. & ors v SU & ors [2020] EWHC 3201 (Comm); [2021] 1 WLR 1097
  • Nageh v David Game College Ltd. & anor [2013] EWCA Civ 1340
  • Official Receiver v Skeene [2020] EWHC 1252 (Ch)
  • R (On the Application Of Leeson) v His Majesty’s Area Coroner for Manchester South [2023] EWHC 62
  • R (on the application of Maughan) v Her Majesty’s Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire (Rev 1) [2020] UKSC 46; [2021] AC 454
  • SmithKline Beecham Biologicals SA v Connaught Laboratories Inc [1999] EWCA Civ 1781: [1999] 4 All ER 498
  • Tchenguiz & anor v Grant Thornton UK LLP & ors [2017] EWHC 310 (Comm); [2017] 1 WLR 2809
  • The ECU Group plc v HSBC Bank plc & ors [2018] EWHC 3045 (Comm)
  • UXA v Merseycare NHS Foundation Trust [2021] EWHC 3455 (QB); [2022] 4 WLR 30

Legislation Referenced

  • Civil Practice Directions, PD14
  • Civil Procedure Rules, rr14.1, 18.1, 18.2, 31.22, 39.2
  • European Convention of Human Rights, Art 10