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Published 21 June 2022
The Court considered how solicitor delay in making prompt Applications could be disadvantageous to the client. The solicitor should consider whether they are compliant with Practice Directions even when faced with a simple error.
The claim related to a road traffic accident which occurred on 11 June 2020, with a value of £15.3k and where DAC Beachcroft were instructed to represent the claimant. The defendant was also represented.
A pre issue offer of settlement was made by the claimant. However, liability remained in dispute and legal proceedings were commenced with the defence being due in November 2021. A defence and counterclaim was filed on time, however, the Statement of Truth was contained within a separate document.
DACB instructed counsel at 8 DAC Beachcroft Buildings regarding an Application in accordance with Practice Direction 22. The application sought to strike out the defence and counterclaim. DACB put the defendant on notice of the Application, providing them with 7 days to file and serve a properly signed defence and counterclaim.
A signed defence and counterclaim was served on 7 December and so was served out of time. DACB requested that the defendant make an Application for Relief from Sanctions. The defendant failed to apply for relief and DACB filed an Application for the defence and counterclaim to be struck out, Judgment for the claimant, plus costs.
The Judge agreed that the original defence and counterclaim were not CPR compliant. The Court also noted the defendant’s failure to apply for Relief from Sanctions and insufficient response to the claimant’s Application. The defendant’s delay in making an Application was fatal!
Judgment was therefore granted in the claimant’s favour. The Application to strike out the defence and counterclaim was successful and the claimant’s costs were awarded in full. DACB relied on a technical breach and the rules are clear.
The claim demonstrates the importance of complying with Court directions and the CPR and provides a strong reminder that Statements of Truth must be signed correctly. The outcome of the Application might have been different had the defendant made a prompt Application for Relief from Sanctions.
Our Motor Recoveries Team deal with cases like this on a regular basis. For more information or advice, please contact one of our experts.
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