Summary Judgment under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)

Summary Judgment under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)

Summary judgment under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 24 is a legal process that allows a claim to be resolved without going to trial. It can be initiated by either the claimant or the defendant, and the court may grant judgment on the whole claim or on a specific issue. Key rules and considerations in the application for summary judgment include CPR 3.14, which outlines the court's inherent authority to issue orders on its own initiative, and CPR 1.4, which establishes the Overriding Objective.

Applying for summary judgment provides several benefits, including financial savings, a prompt resolution of the case, and the ability to stop frivolous or vexatious claims. The application requires the party seeking summary judgment to demonstrate that there is no real prospect of success for the opposing party and that there is no other compelling reason for the case or issue to go to trial.

The grounds for summary judgment, as outlined in CPR 24.2, involve the court giving judgment against a claimant or defendant if it believes that the claimant has no real prospect of success or the defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim. Additionally, there should be no other compelling reason for the case or issue to proceed to trial.

Both claimants and defendants can apply for summary judgment, and it may be granted on the entire claim or on specific issues within the claim. The court considers whether there is a real prospect of success for the party making the claim, and the burden of proof lies with the person making the claim. The term "real prospect" signifies a likelihood that is not false, fanciful, or unreal.

CPR 24.2(b) introduces an additional requirement that there should be no other compelling reason for the case or issue to proceed to trial. This condition is separate from the "no real prospect" requirement and serves as a reason for denying summary judgment. The term "compelling" raises the bar for what constitutes a reason, and case law has clarified that cases with complex issues, latent and crossclaims, or ongoing supplementary actions may be considered compelling reasons to deny summary judgment.

The court may make various orders under PD24, Paragraph 5.1, including judgment on the claim, striking out or dismissal of the claim, dismissal of the application, or a conditional order that requires a party to take specific steps.

In conclusion, summary judgment is a valuable tool for efficiently resolving claims without the need for a trial. It aligns with the Overriding Objective of achieving justice, cutting costs, and saving court resources. However, parties must exercise caution when seeking summary judgment, as an adverse costs order may be imposed if the application is unsuccessful.
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