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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Concluded ‘billing fraud' claim against a company called Peverel,

Customer Question

Concluded ‘billing fraud’ claim against a company called Peverel, an early proposal for settlement appeared to contravene UK Civil Procedure Rules as a possible ‘abuse of process’ for the following reason.
‘Bringing legal proceedings for the purpose of obtaining a collateral advantage or achieving different object for which the litigation proceedings were not intended for’.
I am aware that CPR 3.4 (2)(b) allows a court to strike out a claim for this type of abuse but just where is the actual rule that states this action as being a cause for dismissal? I’ve combed through the CPR web version trying to find it but failed, although I did appear to come across it on a internet search after downloading a ‘Without Prejudice’ letter from Peverel during the litigation. Can you quote or direct me to where this rule can be found?
The internet page I read was in the same format and layout as the current UK CPR rules and directions. I recall it listed four ‘abuse of process’ reasons for dismissal, the fourth being the above ‘ulterior motive’ and the proceeding rule for frivolous claims, but now suspiciously, I cannot find any reference to this particular web page that carried this information.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 1 year ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : Just so that I underatand you want cpr 3.4 or something more?
JACUSTOMER-lfvnvi4u- :

I know CPR 3.4(2)(b) “The court may strike out a statement of case if it appears to the court…that the statement of case is an abuse of the court’s process…


This is the situation. I bought legal proceedings as a ‘litigant in person’ against a well known property business called Peverel , the claim was for ‘billing fraud’, which I believe I could easily prove. During the exchange of WP letters, I proposed as a possible settlement that Peverel should offer the leaseholders the opportunity to purchase the Freehold of the property involved in exchange for a non-discloser agreement concerning the fraud.


Peverel , unable to defend the ‘billing fraud’, threatened to apply to the court to have the claim struck out as continuance would amount to an ‘abuse of process’ as I was attempting to ‘use the litigation as a negotiating tool to achieve another object’. This falls into the category of litigating for an ulterior motive which British courts appear to have rules against.


I did an internet search using key words from their WP letter and quickly came upon what appeared to be CPR rules, (same format and appearance as the CPR web version), claiming various reasons whereby a court could strike out a claim for abuse of process such as the following:


Starting proceedings without the intention of proceeding with the claim


Filing a claim after the limitation period


Pursuing a frivolous claim


Pursuing a claim with the intention of achieving an alternative object other than what the proceedings were designed for or to disadvantage an opponent materially.


I recall the rule or direction that I read appeared to have the ‘frivolous’ claim as the third reason for dismissal and the fourth was the ‘ulterior’ reason, which seemed to fit exactly into what I was trying to achieve with my litigation. On this basis I decided to settle the claim out of court with Peverel returning the money they had defrauded me of and paying my costs.


Now suspiciously, after endless searches I cannot find that page that contained the rules that I read.


I am aware that Peverel in the past has used certain internet companies to ‘clean’ their image by manipulating ‘search’ engines away from negative reports or web pages about them, now is it too far a step to manipulate a ‘search’ from a computer to go to a ‘bogus’ CPR web page?


So, do you know any rule or direction that lists specific reasons whereby a court may strike out a claim for the reasons that I have mentioned above? Presumably there must be some rule that the court can call upon to dismiss cases such as these…where and what are they?

Alex Watts :

Are you Claimant or Defendant please?

JACUSTOMER-lfvnvi4u- :

I was the claimant.

Alex Watts :

What is it you want to achieve, I do not quite understand?

JACUSTOMER-lfvnvi4u- :

The court has inherent powers in the management of court cases.

What CPR rule specifically states litigating for an ulterior motive as being abuse of process and would allow the court to strike out the claim?

Alex Watts :

It would be 3.3 and 3.4

Alex Watts :

But you need to make an application that it is struck out.

Alex Watts :

But you need to make an application saying why it is an abuse of process

Alex Watts :

The court would list it for hearing and decide whether to strike out.

Alex Watts :

But you would need firm evidence it was malicious and another motive.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-lfvnvi4u- :

Sorry, but your reply does not answer my question at all. The question specifically asks which CPR rule states litigating for the purpose of achieving another object other than what the proceedings were designed for, (i.e. ulterior motive), as a reason for the court to strike-out a claim.

I have already quoted CPR 3.4(2)(b) to you in the initial question and also the following reply after that. I am fully aware of CPR 3.3 and 3.4 but neither of them state ulterior motive as being a cause for strike out. Somewhere the court must list reasons for strike out on the grounds that it would be an ‘abuse of process’ to allow the claim to continue.

It appears you cannot help with this enquiry, I therefore do not expect the payment for this question to go through because unfortunately you have not provided any answer whatsoever to my original question.

Alex Watts :

Forgive me let me be clear.

Alex Watts :

Page 93 of the White Book 2015 under the commentary on rule 3.4

Alex Watts :

Paragraph 3.4.3.4.1 states:

Alex Watts :

Improper collateral purpose

Alex Watts :

It is an abuse of process to pursue a claim for an improper collateral purpose. However, what is an improper collateral purpose is not easy to define and few cases have been struck out solely on this basis. In Goldsmith v Sperrings Ltd [1977] 1 W.L.R. 478 CA; Bridge L.J. said:

Alex Watts :

“…. when a litigant sues to redress a grievance no object which he may seek to obtain can be condemned as a collateral advantage if it is reasonably related to the provision of some form of redress for that grievance. On the other hand, if it can be shown that a litigant is pursuing an ulterior purpose unrelated to the subject matter of the litigation and that, but for his ulterior purpose, he would not have commenced proceedings at all, that is an abuse of process. These two cases are plain; but there is, I think, a difficult area in between.”

Alex Watts :

A litigant with a genuine cause of action, which he would wish to pursue in any event, would not be debarred (by stay or striking out) from proceeding because he had an ulterior purpose in mind as a desired by-product of the litigation.

Alex Watts :

Therefore you can rely on rule 3.4 and indeed paragraph 3.4.3.4.1 on Page 93 of the White Book 2015

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you about this today please?

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