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Talbots Success in High Court Appeal Case

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Today, one of our appeal cases which we responded to, and which took place at the High Court of Justice in London earlier last month, has been published.  This case highlights the importance of serving claim forms on time in order to avoid getting your claim struck off.

The basis of the legal action concerned a substantial claim made against our client for procuring a breach of contract appertaining to some development land. However, despite issuing the claim (on the cusp of limitation), the Appellant fell foul of the Civil procedure Rules in that he had failed to serve the issued claim within the four month period which is prescribed by the court rules.

The Appellant had a claim form and had elected to serve the claim form himself in accordance with CPR Rule 6.4(1)(b). On the cusp of the four month window for service expiring, the Appellant had served both the Respondents with the unsealed claim form and the particulars of claim. Almost five months after the date of issue the Appellant had received the backdated sealed claim form from the court and accordingly, had served it on both Respondents by email and had also served it on the Second Respondent by post. This was challenged by the Respondents on the basis that service was out of time. The Appellant also applied for an extension of time for service of the claim form. The Deputy Master in the first instance dismissed the Claimant’s application and awarded costs to the Respondents.

The Claimant then appealed to the High Court and argued that the Deputy Master was wrong to conclude that the Appellant had not acted promptly in making the application for an extension of time. The court held, among other things, that the Deputy Master was right that the other factors in the case had outweighed the mistake made by the court. Overall, considering all the relevant factors, there was no good reason to make an order treating the service of the unsealed claim form together with the particulars of claim as good service.

The Chancery Division dismissed the Appellant’s appeal. This case is yet another case which demonstrates that the Civil Procedure Rules are there to be strictly abided by, even by Litigants in Person, and that if a party gets procedure wrong, then this could result in getting the claim struck off.

You can read the case in full here: Walton v Pickerings Solicitors and another [2022] EWHC 2073 (Ch)