Litigation round-up July 2023

Here are some recent litigation cases

Issue of claim form

The issue date on a claim form marks the beginning of the four month period for service.  A claim form is not issued until it is sealed and the court cannot backdate the claim form where sealing is delayed (Walton v Pickerings Solicitors).

Multiple claimants

There is no limit on the number of claimants that can be included on a single claim form. Concern about whether the court’s electronic filing system, CE-File, could cope with a single claim form for 3,450 claimants was misplaced and irrelevant, as was concern about the question of issue fees. “Same proceedings” in CPR 7.3 does not mean “single trial” so not all of the claims within a claim form have to be heard as part of the same trial (Abbott v Ministry of Defence).

Valid service

Service of an unsealed claim form, whether amended or not, is not good service. A sealed claim form may not be produced for several days after filing via CE-File – that is the claimant’s problem if they are complying with a deadline for serving an amended claim form in a court order (Clewer v Higgs & Sons (a firm)).

Contesting jurisdiction

The claimant served a sealed claim form after the expiry of four months from its issue. The defendant acknowledged service, failing to tick box 3 to contest jurisdiction, but making clear in the covering letter and the strike-out application that it was contesting jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal held that the court could rectify the defendant’s error under CPR 3.10 so as to treat the application to strike out as having been made under CPR11(1) (Pitalia v NHS England).


The court refused to stay trust-related proceedings to encourage mediation where the defendant beneficiaries had been locked into a dispute between themselves for 27 years. Ordering a stay would delay any resolution still further since there was significant animosity between the defendants and four of them were unwilling to contemplate mediation or other ADR (Mills & Reeve Trust Corporation Ltd v Martin).

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