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High Court revives a struck-out claim – Rules it is not an abuse of process

Fiona Patrick, Trainee Legal Executive in Astle Paterson’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department discusses a recent High Court case with a surprising outcome.

The case centres around a Mr Phillip Davies, who had claimed that his boiler, installed by Carillion, had ceased to function. A claim estimated at £20,000. Carillion contended that Mr Davies had failed to set out any support for his allegations, supplying no calculations as to how he’d arrived at the figure. When the court ordered that Mr Davies set out ‘on what legal basis the claim is made’, he subsequently filed a 39-page manuscript. But a District Judge ruled that this did not meet the order and Mr Davies’ claim was struck out.

But the persistent Mr Davies, now armed with the assistance of legal advice, issued a new claim based on the same facts. Carillion applied to have that second claim struck-out on the basis that it was an abuse of process; Mr Davies had failed to advance the original claim, so should not be permitted to start a new one.

However, the judge presiding over the new case, Mr Justice Morris, dismissed Carillion’s application and allowed the second claim to proceed. Mr Justice Morris said that Mr Davies had not shown a ‘wholesale disregard’ of the Court rules and that the first claim had been struck out for a technical issue rather than anything more serious.

The judge acknowledged that there is no requirement under the Civil Procedure Rules which outright prohibits a second claim being brought after a first action has been struck out. Certainly, it was an interesting case with an unusual outcome. It perhaps goes to show that with the right legal support, large companies are not always as unconquerable as they seem.

Should you be in a situation like Mr Davies, and need assistance or advice on Court proceedings, please contact Astle Paterson’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department. Call on 01283 531366 or email fpatrick@astlepaterson.co.uk.

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