Another success for Howard Elgot in the Court of Appeal
The facts of Power v. Meloy Whittle Robinson were as follows. The County Court were asked to issue a Claim Form and return for solicitor service. The Court failed to return the Claim Form, but instead served the issued Claim Form by post on the defendant itself. The solicitors acting for the defendant had already requested service on themselves instead of their client and that rendered the service by the court invalid. The claimant’s solicitors failed to notice that the issued Claim Form had not been returned by the court until after its 4 month period of validity had expired. The claim was then struck out by the County Court for non-service within the 4 month period.
The Court of Appeal held that in the circumstances of the case (which formed part of the ongoing British Coal VWF Professional Negligence litigation) CPR 6.15 (2) should be invoked to retrospectively validate the bad service which occurred when the court sent the issued Claim Form to the defendant and allowed the claimant’s appeal.
The case is notable for unanimous view of the Court of Appeal that “The purpose of service of proceedings………. is not about playing technical games.