We see many statements of case that fail to comply with CPR Part 16; this often impacts on costs, interest, damages and the progression of claims. It is common for a party to respond to a defect in pleadings with an application for strike out or an unless order. Below, Sarah Venn sets out the top five problems we most frequently encounter so you can avoid them.
- CPR 16 PD 4.2 requires a claimant to attach to his particulars of claim a schedule of details of any past and future expenses and losses which he claims. All too often, schedules are served with vague heads of loss valued at “TBA”. This does not satisfy the requirement to provide details and may have consequences later on in the litigation; if the defendant wishes to settle, but the lack of adequate particulars of special damages prevents valuation of the claim, there may be arguments that interest should be disallowed and the claimant should have some responsibility for costs. If the claim for special damages cannot be fully set out, the elements of the claim which are known and quantifiable (such as past losses to the date of the schedule) should be detailed.
- CPR 16 PD 12.2 requires the defendant to include in or attach to his defence a counter-schedule stating which items in the claimant’s schedule of past and future expenses and losses he agrees, disputes, or neither agrees nor disputes but has no knowledge of, supplying alternate figures where appropriate. Many defendants state that a counter-schedule will be provided “in due course”, but unless the claim for special damages is so poorly set out that no meaningful response can be given, this is unlikely to be adequate.
- CPR 16 PD 4.3 requires a claimant relying on the evidence of a medical practitioner to attach to or serve with his particulars of claim a report from a medical practitioner about the personal injuries which he alleges in his claim. GP notes or clinic letters are not adequate. CPR 16 PD 4.1 requires particulars of claim to contain brief details of the claimant’s personal injuries and it is advisable to prepare these particulars with reference to a medico-legal report which deals with causation and prognosis and upon which the claimant will rely.
- Expiry of the primary limitation period is often overlooked, not pleaded, or raised at a later date. A defendant raising limitation as a defence is required to give details of the expiry of any relevant limitation period relied on in the defence (CPR 16 PD 13.1).
- The claimant is required to include a statement of value in the claim form (CPR 16.3). If this is disputed by the defendant, the defence must state why and (if possible) give the defendant’s statement of the value of the claim (CPR 16.5). A defendant who later seeks to argue that the claimant’s valuation is wrong and should not inform track allocation may have difficulty doing so if the claimant’s statement of value is not disputed in the defence.
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