When raising a claim in court, a number of procedural hurdles provided by the Civil Procedure Rules must be adhered to. Failure to conform to these rules may result in a claim failing from the outset.
Initiating a claim
First and foremost, a plaintiff must have (1) a cause of action recognised by law; and (2) establish the factual basis to support their claim. Both grounds will form the basis of the claim, detailed on the Claim Form, which is submitted to the court alongside the requisite fee. The court will in turn issue a Claim Form which is to be served on all defendants in accordance with the statutorily prescribed time limits.
A defendant will then have the choice of filing their defence within 14 days of service upon them, or admitting to all or part of the claims.
It must be noted that certain pre-action protocols apply to civil litigants, which encourage parties to share information and seek settlement, usually by mediation or arbitration, before proceeding to a full trial.
Are representative parties permitted?
A claim may be brought by a plaintiff who is considered to “have the same interest” in a claim as persons they are representing.
Which court is appropriate for bringing proceedings?
In England and Wales, county courts have similar jurisdiction to the High Court. However, beyond the following claims must be brought in the High Court:
- if the value of the claim is anticipated to be higher than £100,000; and
- if the claim is for personal injury, where the value is £50,000 or higher.
If the plaintiff believes the defendant’s filed defence has “no real prospect of success”, they may file for summary judgement. The test determined by the court is whether there is a chance the defendant’s case would succeed, and the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff to show otherwise. The defendant must submit evidence supporting the viability of their defence no less than seven days prior to the summary judgement hearing.
The effect of a summary judgement is the defendant’s defence is struck out without resort to a full trial.
During the case management process, the court holds a hearing to consider the issues in dispute and whether or not the parties are better served by entering Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) instead. The court will also determine a timeline for the claim to proceed and the rules for disclosure of evidence.
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Raising a claim in adherence to Civil Procedure Rules is vital for protecting a right of action, as statutory limitations present a definitive barrier to bringing legal action, and contractual limitations can render time constraints even tighter.
Lewis Nedas Law holds over 35 years of corporate litigation experience with both domestic and international clients in a broad range of matters, from preliminary trial proceedings through to post-trial.