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A warning for would be litigants in person

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Following the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Barton v Wright Hassall, it is evident it is important to obtain legal representation. 

In this case Mr Barton, a litigant in person, failed to seek confirmation that the Defendant’s Solicitor would accept service of a claim form by way of email.  Without obtaining the necessary permission, it was deemed the claim form was not served and Mr Barton was unable to proceed with his claim.

Mr Barton issued an application in accordance with CPR 6.15 that his service of the claim form was good service.  This application was not successful.  The judgment detailed that the Civil Procedure Rules applied to all parties equally and Mr Barton would not be provided with special treatment because he was a litigant in person.

Lord Sumption in his decision stated ‘The rules provide a framework within which to balance the interest of both sides.  That balance is inevitably disturbed if an unrepresented litigant is entitled to greater indulgence in complying with them that his represented opponent….Unless the rules and practice directions are particularly in accessible or obscure, it is reasonable to expect a litigant in person to familiarise himself with the rules which apply to any step which he is about to take.’

In order to avoid difficulties in proceeding with a claim it is essential to obtain legal advice at the outset.  We would be happy to assist with any queries you may have and would be willing to arrange a dedicated time to discuss your enquiry.  Please contact our Dispute Resolution Department on 0207 8420800 to discuss further.

 

 This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.

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