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The Claims Process – Interim Applications

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In this article, we will be looking at interim applications, including what they are, when they might be needed and how such an application is made.

What is an Interim Application?

An interim application is an application made to the court for orders or directions prior to trial or a substantive hearing.

Interim Applications are often made in relation to:

  1. Case Management

In our previous article we looked at the Case Management Conference which is a hearing before the Court, at which the Court sets directions for the future conduct of the case. Sometimes in the course of litigation a party may find themselves not able to comply with a direction set by the Court. In these circumstances, if the parties cannot reach agreement to extend a deadline, an Interim Application to amend directions can be made.

  1. Specific Remedies

Interim Applications can also be made for specific remedies, for example, interim injunctions, or to strike out a statement of case or for summary judgment.

For example, if a statement of case (e.g. , particulars of claim, a defence, or a counterclaim) discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing a claim (in the case of a claim or counterclaim) or defending a claim (in the case of a defence) an application can be made to strike that statement of case out. If the application to strike out is successful this means that the statement of case can no longer be relied upon.

An application for summary judgment can be made when a party has no real prospect of succeeding with their claim. The Court will consider the application, and potentially enter judgment without a trial (provided that there is no other compelling reason why the claim or issue should proceed to a trial.

When should an Interim Application be made?

Applications can be made at any stage of proceedings, including before a claim is issued, for example an application for pre-action disclosure (a pre-action disclosure application would, if successful, obligate a party  to make certain disclosures before the claimant issues the claim form.)

It is important to note that an application should be made as soon as it appears necessary to make it.

How to make an Interim Application?

The procedure for making an interim application is set out in the Civil Procedure Rules (Rule 23 and Practice Direction 23A)

These rules apply, unless another procedure is specified elsewhere in the Civil Procedure Rules. For example, an application for summary judgment must comply with the specific requirements in Civil Procedure Rule 24.

In general, making an application involves the following steps:

  • preparing the evidence that you will be submitting in support of the application;
  • drafting the order that you want the Court to make; and
  • completing an application notice, which is usually in Form N244. This form should set out what order is being sought and why.

Once complete, the application must then be filed with the court, along with payment of the relevant fee, and served on the other party. Further guidance on making an interim application can be found in the Civil Procedure Rules in Practice Directions 23A and 23B.

How to serve the application?

The general rule is that an application must be made to the Court where the claim was started or if the claim has been transferred to another court since issue, the application should be made to the court which the claim has been transferred to.

If a trial has been listed, the application should be made to the Court that will hear the trial.

As set out above, an application can be made prior to proceedings being issued. In these circumstances the application should be made to the Court in which the claim is likely to be issued.

Civil Procedure Rule 23 sets out that the application notice, along with any evidence and draft orders, should be served on the other parties to the litigation as soon as practicable after being filed at the Court and, in any event, if a hearing has been listed, at least 3 days before the hearing. Only in circumstances of ‘exceptional urgency’ will the court allow applications to be made without the service of the application notice.

Points to consider

When making an interim application, consideration should always be given as to whether your application furthers the overriding objective.  As set out in our previous articles in this mini-series, the Overriding Objective seeks to ensure that parties to litigation are dealt with fairly, and that cases proceed swiftly in the most cost-efficient way possible.

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.
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