High Court disallows costs of non-compliant particulars of claim.

In Tchenguiz & Ors v Thornton UK LLP & Ors [2015] EWHC 405 (Comm) (20 February 2015) which was heard in the Commercial Court before Justice Leggatt, the Claimants had failed to make an application to the court for permission in respect of their particulars of claim, which contained 94 pages, until two months had passed since service on the Defendants.

The Commercial Court guidelines stated that particulars of claim should not exceed 25 pages and only in rare cases would the Court give permission for an extension to that number of pages. In the Commercial Court the relevant party must make an application to the court for permission to exceed the number of pages allowed.

In this case as well as the number of pages in the particulars of claim, the contents also did not fall within the guidelines issued by the Commercial Court as the language used and evidence and facts presented were contrary to the suggestions and advice given by the Commercial Court within the guidelines.

Justice Leggatt noted that just because the Defendants did not raise any objection to the late application made by the Claimants, two months after service, for permission to extend their particulars of claim to 94 pages, this did not give the Claimants any right to ignore the guidelines and practices of the Commercial Court. Further, Justice Leggatt made reference to a consent order that had been approved by Justice Flaux and noted that, although the length of the particulars of claim had been referred to in that consent order, this did not signify that approval had been given to the particulars as served.

Justice Leggett recognised that although there would be some upheaval and delay caused to the Defendants, he believed that particulars of claim correctly drafted in accordance with the rules of the court would improve the overall efficiency of the case. Accordingly, he struck out the particulars of claim, would not allow any costs for redrafting and in particular made an order that the newly drafted particulars of claim should comply with the Commercial Court guidelines and be served within 21 days.

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