A hearing took place on Friday for a Claimants application under CPR rule 24 for summary judgment.
Now under rule 24 the Court can give judgment if it is satisfied that there is no prospect of success for the Claimant or Defendant, and there is no other compelling reason why the case should go to trial.
The Claimant carries the burden in such an application, and the standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities.
There are cases which determine how the Court should approach such a hearing, cases such as Swain v Hillman for example.
In the case on Friday, a bank sought summary judgment against a litigant in person, well he was till i received instructions in the matter. The Claim itself was almost unrecognisable, the pleadings were so vague that it was difficult to work out whether the Claim was in contract or something else, no mention of breach of contract or anything else for that matter.
To a lay person, the case was lacking, and that was obvious, so much so that i actually invited the bank to withdraw the application to avoid costs. Now it is worth noting that i dont have any duty to the Claimant to tell them their mistakes, my duty is to my client and the Court, however i did try to stop them from being foolish, but they simply ignored me.
So, anyway, the matter proceeded to a hearing on Friday.
The bank had issued this claim, some 6 or 7 years ago, it had then had the claim stayed due to its failure to prosecute the Claim. Over those 6 or 7 years the limitation had expired so had the claim not been issued it would now be barred.
The Claimant had no direct evidence to support its claim, or to support its application, the best evidence it had was from a litigation clerk who had read a file of papers.
There were numerous questions raised that the bank had simply not answered. It is plainly not permissible to claim someone owes you money without saying why, how the debt accrued, what type of agreement you had with the other party, what the terms were of the agreement, what terms were breached etc. This is plainly obvious, however, the bank went ahead with an application for summary judgment when it was plain that none of the above points have been addressed.
Suffice to say, the hearing went ahead, the bank lost, and now they have to pay the costs in full, something they could have avoided by heeding the warning and taking the offer i gave them.
Summary judgment has its place in litigation, plainly it has a use, but when there is disputed points which cry out for evidence to be tested by a trial judge, i fail to see how anyone can consider it the appropriate response.
Anyway, i remain hopeful to be able to report two results shortly once the reserved judgments are handed down.