Summary of Recent Cases – Civil Procedure

Failure of the court to deal adequately with expert evidence when an expert comments on areas outside of his appointment
Peter Annison v Paul Nolan [2012] EWCA Civ 54, 31/01/12
The Court held there would need to remit a claim for maintenance and repairs for a re-trial after a judge had failed to adequately deal with an expert report which professed to deal with maintenance and repair costs which were outside the scope of his appointment. A claim for just over £55,000 for maintenance and repair costs had been made as part of an claim for personal injury. At trial the judge had made no ruling on the admissibility or relevance of his report and did not refer to it in her judgment. She had therefore failed to deal with it adequately, either by excluding it as irrelevant or by admitting it, considering it and giving her reasons for not awarding the amount claimed.

Requiring notice from a party that intended to place reliance on hearsay evidence within an agreed court bundle was undesirable.
Charnock and Others v Rowan and Other [2012] EWCA Civ 2, 20/01/12
The court held that in essentially straightforward litigation, where a party intended to place reliance on hearsay evidence, the best option might be to ensure that an opposing case was properly pleaded and then the obligation would lie on each party’s lawyers to go through the agreed documents with the client or witness and take instructions on any relevant discrepant hearsay evidence. To require notice that reliance was to be placed on hearsay contained in a bundle did not sit well with PD 32 paragraph 27 which provided that all documents contained in bundles which had been agreed for use at a hearing were to be admissible as evidence. It would also be likely to lead to almost limitless and costly wrangling before and at trial.

An offer letter which did not comply with CPR 36.2 was not a Part 36 Offer
Norman Lee Thewlis v Groupama Insurance Co Ltd, [2012] EWHC 3 (TCC), 05/01/12
The applicant sought a declaration that a purported Part 36 letter had been accepted. The respondent had made an offer to settle proceedings which suggested it was made pursuant to Part 36 and remained open for acceptance for 21 days after which it could only be accepted if costs were agreed or the court gave permission. The applicant later purported to accept the offer, after 21 days. The respondent argued that it was not a Part 36 letter as it failed to state that it was intended to have the consequences of Part 36 and the reference to the acceptance after 21 days was inconsistent with Part 36. The Court held that a failure to comply with rule 36.2 was fatal and therefore it was not a valid Part 36 offer and was not open for acceptance after 21 days.

March 1, 2012 · Editorial Team · Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases