||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 371 (Jun)
|| EWCA Civ 643
||Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Chadwick, Latham and Thomas LJJ
||Sian Mirchandani (instructed by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP) for the claimant.
||Alexander Hickey (instructed by Berrymans Lace Mawer) for the second defendant.
||28 June 2007
Pleading - Amendment - Admission - Application for permission to amend defence in order to withdraw admission - Defendant making pre-action admission subsequently contained in defence - Judge refusing leave to amend to withdraw admission - Claimant no longer able to pursue other parties due to expiry of limitation period - Whether judge in error - Civil Procedure Rules 1998, SI 1998/3132, rr 17.1(2)(b), 14.1.
Pleading Amendment. In deciding whether or not to grant permission to amend a statement of case under CPR17.1(2)(b), where the effect of the amendment sought was to withdraw an admission made in an earlier statement of case, the court should have regard to CPR14.1 and to the Practice Direction which supplemented that rule. In particular, the court should now have regard to the matters listed in para7.2 of that Practice Direction. Those matters included the relative prejudice which would be suffered by each party if the admission was (or was not) withdrawn. By contrast, if the admission was made in pre-action correspondence and had not been repeated following the commencement of proceedings, in particular where it had not been made in an earlier pleading, the question for the court (in a case not falling within CPR14.1A) was whether to allow it to be withdrawn in the party's pleaded case would be to allow an abuse of process or a course likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings. But, in that context also, the relative prejudice which would be suffered by each party if the admission was (or was not) withdrawn would be a factor which the court should take into account.
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