March 6, 2014

Strike-out of High Court proceedings because of abuse of process

The Claimant issued nine claims in the Employment Tribunal and concurrently proceedings in the High Court arising from the same facts. Earlier, the Court proceedings had been stayed to avoid a huge number of claims going through at the same time. Subsequently the Claimant withdrew the outstanding Tribunal claims and obtained an order lifting the stay of proceedings. The Defendant applied to have the Court claims struck out as an abuse of process. The High Court agreed to strike the claims out, noting that the Claimant did not have an unqualified right to proceed to trial in the High Court, either by reason of Article 6 of the ECHR or otherwise, and proper account should be taken of the overriding objective and the need for economy and proportionality. Furthermore it was contrary to the principles underlying the CPR and inconsistent with the overriding objective to allow someone to withdraw proceedings in the Court in circumstances where she may have been able to obtain all necessary remedies elsewhere (the Tribunal) and when a huge amount of money had already been spent by the Defendant, simply because she considered it would give her a tactical advantage or may offer some marginally different form of remedy. The High Court considered that, to allow this to happen, would "bring the administration of justice into disrepute".

This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222

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