From 6 April 2006 there are a number of important changes to CPR. In particular, the postcode for any address must be given. If, when you submit a claim to the court, the claim form does not have a postcode, you will need to ask the Judge for permission to serve your claim without it.
There is no additional fee for this but it should be noted, if you leave the postcode out and fail to ask permission of the Judge then, although the court will issue your claim, it will be retained by the court and will not be served unless and until the missing postcode is provided or a judge gives permission for service without it. If you do not know the postcode for an address you can obtain the information from the Royal Mail Address Management Guide or from their website at www.royalmail.com.
In addition, defendants will be asked to provide their date of birth when replying to a claim, and claimants will be asked to provide the defendants date of birth to the court (where known) when applying for judgment.
Further information can be obtained from the HMCS website at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/judgments.htm.
Fraudulent claims and contempt of court
There has been a lot of publicity about the recent case of a claimant who alleged that, while walking along a pavement, he fell injuring his knee, with two others providing witness statements in support.
Evidence came to light that the knee injury had been suffered during a football match on the same day. Initially the claimant amended his case to say that the injury had occurred before the match, but that his knee had hurt throughout the match and had become worse. However, he subsequently sought to discontinue the proceedings on the basis, he claimed, of legal advice.
The employers commenced proceedings to commit the claimant for contempt of court. The Judge held that it was clear beyond reasonable doubt that he had not sustained any injury while walking along the pavement. Upon his own evidence he had been dishonest in a number of ways such as by deliberately failing to disclose that he had played a football match a short period after he had allegedly suffered the injury, and by asserting that as a result of the alleged injury he had been unable to play football for a substantial period. He was a very unreliable and dishonest witness.
The local authority had satisfied the criminal burden of proof. The evidence of the two witnesses was also to be regarded as false. Each of the three of them knew that their evidence was false. The application to commit to prison for contempt of court was granted.
Does a joint settlement meeting affect the operation of Part 36?
The claimant issued proceedings against the Ministry of Defence for injuries suffered during a training exercise. It was a substantial claim but the medical evidence did not support all of the residual disability and the claim was reduced from over £1,000,000 to £240,000. The MOD made a Part 36 payment into court of £150,000.
The parties were ordered to attend a pre trial joint settlement meeting but no agreement was reached. At trial, damages of £155,000 were awarded with costs reduced by 25 per cent to reflect the fact that the award had only just beaten the payment into court and the fact that the claimant had exaggerated his evidence.
The MOD appealed contending that the Judge should have taken into account the proceedings of the joint settlement meeting as it had gone with the intention of negotiating and making an offer to settle; and that costs should have been reduced by more than 25 per cent.
The Court of Appeal held that the scheme for joint settlement meetings made it clear that the process was confidential and that offers made and rejected were confidential unless stated to be without prejudice as to costs. No inferences could be drawn from the fact that the parties attended the meeting.
The MOD could have protected its position by making an earlier Part 36 offer and by making a further payment in after the unsuccessful joint settlement meeting. The reduction the Judge made was well within the Judge’s wide discretion.