||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 166 (Jan)
|| EWCA Civ 10
||Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Pill, Tuckey and Jonathan Parker LJJ
||Peter Crampin QC and John Smart (instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit) for the claimant.
||Peter Ralls QC and Stuart Hornett (instructed by Philip Ross & Co) for the defendants.
||23 January 2002
Practice - Stay of proceedings - Automatic stay of proceedings - Master declining to lift automatic stay for want of prosecution - Appeal - Judge proceeding by way of rehearing - Judge allowing appeal - Judge finding fair trial possible as delay not causing undue prejudice - Judge lifting stay of proceedings - Whether judge in error - CPR 51, 52.11.
A decision to hear an appeal by way of rehearing would only be justified where the appeal court considered that in the circumstances of the individual appeal it was in the interests of justice to do so, having regard to whether the decision of the lower court was rendered unjust. In the instant case, there were no grounds for hearing an appeal against the master's decision not to lift an automatic stay of proceedings had been within the exercise of his discretion. In reaching his decision, the master had not taken into account irrelevant matters or failed to take into account relevant matters and had rightly addressed himself to the central question whether, given the substantial delays which had occurred, it was still possible to have a fair trial of the action. The judge's order allowing the lifting of the stay would, accordingly, be set aside and the action struck out.
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