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Summary Judgment explained


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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21 April 2011

When the defendant has failed to acknowledge the claim or defend it is usually possible to enter a default judgment. However, where there is no real defence, a defendant's often go through the motions of defending just to delay the time when judgment may be entered by the Claimant. It is also possible for defendants to put up the pretence of having a real defence to such an extent that some cases run all the way through to trial before judgment can be entered.

The CPR provides several ways of avoiding this from happening. The court can use its power to strike out the defence especially when the defence is hopeless. The Claimant can also enter summary judgment which is a related procedure, and is used where a defence can be shown to have no real prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason why the case should be disposed of at trial.

The procedure for entering summary judgment is not limited to use by Claimants against Defendants. Defendants may apply for summary judgment to attack weak claims brought by Claimants. Further, summary judgment can be used by the court of its own initiative to perform the important function of stopping weak cases from proceeding. The procedure can also be used for the purpose of obtaining a summary determination of some of the issues in a case, thereby reducing the complexity of the trial.

Paragraph 5.1 of PD 24 provides a range of orders available on a summary judgment application including:

(a) giving judgment on the claim;

(b) striking out or dismissal of the claim;

(c) dismissal of the application; and

(d) making a conditional order.

Where the defendant has a defence to only part of the claim the most natural order would be to grant judgment for the part of the claim against which there is no defence, and to dismiss the application as to the balance. Although CPR, r 24.2, expressly says that the court can give summary judgment on particular issues, this is most appropriate where resolving the issue or issues will resolve or help to resolve the litigation.

Riyaz Jariwalla is a solicitor who specialises in intellectual property law and commercial litigation.

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-04-29 21:45:20 in Legal Articles

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