Another double failure in Nottingham v Ardern

Dermot Nottingham has again had a double failure in court after another attempt in his legal actions against Jacinda Ardern, Ashley Bloomfield and Sarah Stuart-Black. This time he tried to recall the original judgment against him in the High Court, despite it also being dealt with by a higher court.

This isn’t the first time Nottingham has used different ways of trying to overturn judgments, and of trying to have a proceeding dealt with in a lower court than where the last decision was made.

In April (judgment 23 April 2020) Dermot Nottingham and Robert McKinney took legal action against Jacinda Ardern, Ashley Bloomfield and Sarah Stuart-Black, alleging the Government had subjected them to unlawful detention under the Covid-19 lockdown.

The High Court declined to issue writs of habeas corpus in favour of Nottingham and McKinney, finding that the two men and their families and associates were not detained under the Health Act, and that “habeas corpus is not the appropriate procedure for considering their allegations”.

Both Nottingham and McKinney appealed, but the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court and dismissed the appeals, and said that the actions should not have been personally against the prime Minister or Director-General of Health and were told to make that correction if taking the matter further.

At the time of the application Nottingham was legally detained  as he was serving a term of home detention after being convicted in 2018 of criminal harassment and breaching name suppression orders, but during the process he was granted bail pending a Supreme Court appeal of the length of his sentence (that is due too be heard in the Supreme Court today).

Both men sought name suppression in this case but that was refused and it expired:

It is possible they may receive some unwelcome comments and that they may be upset by what others have to say. Those are, however, not proper grounds for granting them name suppression, even on an interim basis.

See Court of Appeal NOTTINGHAM v ARDERN [2020] NZCA 144 [4 May 2020]

The latest decision is in the High Court – NOTTINGHAM v ARDERN [2020] NZHC 1013 [15 May 2020]

Mr Nottingham has applied for recall of my judgment of 23 April 2020, in which I declined his application for a writ of habeas corpus…

The gist of Mr Nottingham’s application is that Crown counsel misled me at the hearing of his application on 17 April 2020. In particular, Mr Nottingham contends Crown counsel misled me in the course of their submissions as to the legality or otherwise of the (now revoked) order of the Director-General of Health issued on 3 April 2020 (“order”). Crown counsel deny misleading me in any way whatsoever.

Mr Nottingham and Crown counsel made detailed submissions for and against the application for recall. However, the critical point is that my judgment has been subject to a concluded appeal, that is the Court of Appeal has both heard and determined Mr Nottingham’s appeal against my judgment. The effect of this is to preclude recall of my judgment.

A fundamental of our legal system is that a lower court cannot deal with something that is before or has been dealt with a higher court.

Quite aside from that, and even if Mr Nottingham could persuade me I was misled as he contends, I would have declined to exercise my discretion to recall the judgement because it would be pointless to do. The matters on which Mr Nottingham seeks to rely do not bear on the determinative issue of whether the effect of the order
was to “detain” him within the meaning of the Act. Thus the outcome post any recall would remain the same.

Nottingham is a lay litigant representing himself, but has extensive experience in the courts. The NZLII database lists 49 decisions involving Nottingham since 2015, and this is just the tip of a legal iceberg as many lower court decisions are not published. He was adjudicated bankrupt in 2018 due to hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid legal costs awarded against him for failed legal proceedings.


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  1. Gezza

     /  28th May 2020

    What a dork. Beggars belief this malevolent character can still be uselessly tying up so much Court time & expense on hopeless arguments.

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