Judgment Default of defence. The Commercial Court allowed the second defendant company's application to set aside a judgement in default in proceedings relating to an alleged fraud carried out by the defendants concerning property purchased by the claimant. The second defendant had a real prospect of defending the claim. Weighing up the relevant factors, the balance fell strongly in favour of setting aside the default judgment.
Practice Civil litigation. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed an appeal by the defendant against the refusal of relief from sanctions imposed by an unless order pursuant to CPR3.9. In order to assess the seriousness and significance of a breach of an unless order, it was necessary to look also at the underlying breach. The fact that an applicant had failed to comply with an unless order, as opposed to an 'ordinary' order, was undoubtedly a pointer towards seriousness and significance. On the facts of the present case, the breach had been serious and significant, there had been no good reason for the defendant's non-compliance and the delay had substantially disrupted the progress of the action.
Judgment Default of defence. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the claimant's appeal and dismissed the second defendant insurer's application to set aside a judgment in default and an award of damages. In particular, the court considered how the court should approach the grant of relief from sanctions in a case where the defaulting party had delayed in applying for relief, but was able to point to evidence that enabled it to allege that the claim was a fraudulent one.
Tort Fraud. The Queen's Bench Division dismissed the claimants' claim for fraudulent misrepresentation regarding an investment made in the defendant's car hire company. On the facts the representations had not been made as alleged and in any event had not bee fraudulent.
Divorce Ancillary relief. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed an appeal by a husband against an ancillary relief order. The judge had not erred in awarding the wife more than 50% of the assets of the marriage, in circumstances where the husband had not made proper financial disclosure or provided a budget of his needs, and where the judge had made provision for the wife's trimmed budget whilst also providing properly for the husband's needs.
Practice Compromise of action. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the claimant's appeal concerning the scope of a compromise agreement entered into in the wake of the 'phone hacking' scandal. The judge below had held that, as a matter of interpretation, certain claims in a second action fell within the scope of a compromise of an earlier action and struck out the paragraphs of the particulars of claim which raised those claims. The judge had been right for the reasons he had given.
Solicitor Negligence. The Chancery Division dismissed the claimants' claim for negligence against the defendant solicitors' firm, where it was alleged that the defendants had caused various documents in a transaction to differ materially, and to the claimants' detriment, from the terms that they had been instructed to draw up. The defendants, which had been acting for another party in the transaction, had not acted in a way that was consistent with them being retained as solicitors for the claimants. Nor had they assumed responsibility to the claimants or owed them a duty of care.
Mental health Patient. In allowing the appellant patient's appeal, the Supreme Court held that it would be wrong to have a presumption that an anonymity order should be made in every case in civil proceedings in the High Court relating to a patient detained in a psychiatric hospital or otherwise subject to compulsory powers under the . However, in the present case, the anonymity order in place would be maintained on the basis that without it there was a very real risk that the progress the appellant had made during his long years of treatment in hospital would be put in jeopardy and his re-integration in the community, which had been an important purpose of his transfer to hospital, would not succeed.
Negligence Causation. The Privy Council, in dismissing the appellant hospital board's appeal, held that, as a matter of principle, successive events were capable of each making a material contribution to the subsequent outcome. It was not persuaded by the appellant's argument that Bonnington Castings Ltd v Wardlaw () was distinguishable because, in that case, the inhalation from two sources had been simultaneous, whereas, in the present case, the sepsis attributable to the appellant's negligence had developed after sepsis had already begun to develop.
European Union Jurisdiction. The Court of Justice of the European Union gave a preliminary ruling, deciding that of Council Regulation (EC) No 44-2001 should be interpreted to the effect that its scope included an action brought by a third party, in accordance with national law, against the defendant in the original proceedings, and closely linked to those original proceedings, seeking reimbursement of compensation paid by that third party to the applicant in those original proceedings, provided that the action had not been instituted solely with the object of removing that defendant from the jurisdiction of the court which would be competent in the case.