Summary of Recent Cases – Substantive Law


The Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of Fairclough Homes Limited v Summers [2012] UKSC 26. The Claimant (C) suffered a fractured ankle in a fall on a building site. He issued proceedings against his employer (D). C succeeded at a liability hearing. The issue of quantum was set aside to be dealt with at a later date.

In the time between the liability and quantum hearings, D obtained images of C by means of undercover surveillance. The surveillance evidence caused D to argue that the claim was an abuse of process on the basis that C had grossly exaggerated the effect of his injuries. D maintained that the whole claim should be struck out because of this exaggeration.

The Supreme Court held (at paragraph [33]) that the court did have the power under CPR 3.4(2) to strike out a claim for abuse of process, even after the trial of an action in circumstances where the court has been able to make a proper assessment of liability and quantum. This was even the case when doing so would defeat a substantive claim (see paragraph [41]). However, this power should be used in only exceptional circumstances. There were other deterrents which should prevent the exaggeration of claims, for example reduced recovery of costs (se paragraph [52]) and the law of contempt (see paragraph [56]).

On the facts of this case, the Supreme Court found that C’s case should not be struck out in its entirety, since the circumstances were not ‘very exceptional’ (see paragraph [65]).

July 19, 2012 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases