The legal costs for a full trial In Civil Litigation Disputes and Money Claims can be significant and it can take a considerable length of time before a full trial takes place, as the Court has since Covid-19 suffered a significant backlog of cases that need to be listed and heard and there is often a shortage of available judges to hear them. If, however, the claim or defence has no real prospects of succeeding at trial, you can make a Summary Judgment application to get the case concluded early in your favour. Our Litigation Solicitors and Barristers can help you successfully apply for Summary Judgment in your Civil Litigation Disputes and Money Claims.What is a Summary Judgment Application? For a Civil Litigation Dispute and Money Claim, CPR 24 provides that:
“The court may give summary judgment against a claimant or defendant on the whole of a claim or on a particular issue if – (a) it considers that – (i) that claimant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim or issue; or (ii) that defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim or issue; and (b) there is no other compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at a trial.”
In considering an application for summary judgment, the Court has to be satisfied that either the claim has no real prospects of success or the defence has no real prospects of success and that there is no other compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at a trial. This is a two-stage test that you will have to satisfy the Court to grant summary judgment in your favour. You can get summary judgment on all or part of the claim.
If you are unsure about how you can meet the above two stage test, you may want to speak to our expert Litigation Lawyers for legal advice and representation.
How do you show that the claim or defence has no real prospects of success?The question of what is mean by real prospects of success was dealt with by the Supreme Court in Swain v Hillman  EWCA Civ 3053, in which Lord Woolf (Master of the Rolls at that time) said:
“The words “no real prospect of being successful or succeeding” do not need any ampflication, they speak for themselves. The word “real” distinguishes fanciful prospects of success or, as Mr Bidder submits, they direct the court to the need to see whether there is a “realistic” as opposed to a “fanciful” prospect of success.”This case was then followed by the decision in ED&F Man Liquid Products Ltd v Patel & Anor  EWCA Civ 472, which held that:
“The fact is that in ordinary language to say that a case has no realistic prospect of success is generally much the same as saying it is hopeless, whereas to say that the case has a realistic prospect of success suggests something better than that it is merely arguable… Something more than a merely arguable case is needed to tip the balance of justice to set the judgment aside.”Therefore, in order to satisfy the Court that summary judgment should be granted, you will have to show that the claim or defence has fanciful prospects of success and is not more than merely arguable. The success of a summary judgment application would therefore depend on the Court looking at all the evidence in the round in determining whether the claim or defence has real prospects of success or not. It should be noted that whilst the cases highlight that summary judgment applications do not allow the Court to conduct a mini-trial; however, in practice, that is precisely what the Court may end up doing in determining the application. This is a complex exercise and you should not consider making a summary judgment application without proper legal advice on whether your case qualifies for it. If you need help in assessing whether the claim or defence against you has real prospects of success or not for a successful summary judgment application, you may want to speak to our expert Litigation Solicitors and Barristers for legal advice and representation.
What are the advantages of a summary judgment application?If your summary judgment application is successful, the following advantages apply:
- You succeed on your claim and defence: If your summary judgment application is successful, the claim will be disposed of as your claim or defence will have succeeded and there would be no need to have a full trial.
- You do not need to call witnesses to give evidence: You will need to call your witnesses to give evidence at a full trial, but with a summary judgment application, the Court does not hear any oral evidence and decides the summary judgment application on the papers put before the Court in support of the application.
- You could narrow the issues in the case by obtaining judgment on part of the claim: You can obtain summary judgment on the whole claim or part of the claim. So, your summary judgment application could only look to deal with one of the issues in the claim, which you can argue has no real prospects of success. This would narrow down the issues and the costs of the trial.
- You could recover your legal costs of the application and the claim: If your summary judgment application is successful, it means that you win the case. You can therefore recover the costs of your application as well as the whole claim as the claim would have come to an end by your successful application.