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SANCTIONS: Method in our madness!

02 August 2013  

Radd Seiger and Helen Morris discuss the lessons to be learned from Venulum Property Investments Ltd v Space Architecture Ltd

We represented the defendant in the Court of Appeal decision of Dixie v British Polythene Industries plc [2010]. We argued then that it was an abuse of process for the claimant to pursue an identical claim to that which had previously been struck out following the claimant’s failure to serve his claim form within the four-month period prescribed by CPR 7.5 due to an error on the part of his solicitors. The claimant argued that notwithstanding his solicitors’ oversight, he should be allowed a ‘second bite of the cherry’. The Court of Appeal accepted that in principle a claim could be struck out as an abuse of process but concluded on the facts that no abuse was present. The judgment made it clear that failure to serve a claim form in accordance with the CPR provisions would not in of itself amount to an abuse of process. This was a disappointing further example of the court’s failure to take a hardened stance when faced with claimants flouting procedural time limits, case management directions and court orders, which was succinctly described by Lord Jackson in Mannion v Ginty [2012] as ‘the culture of toleration of delay and non compliance with orders’.

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    Berg v Blackburn Rovers Football Club & Athletic plc [2013] EWHC 1070 (Ch)

    Dixie v British Polythene Industries plc [2010] EWCA Civ 1170

    Mannion v Ginty [2012] EWCA Civ 1667

    Venulum Property Investment Ltd v Space Architecture Ltd & ors [2013] EWHC 1242