Pre-Action Disclosure Applications - Not Before Time

Article

17 December, 2010

Forbes Solicitors has successfully contested a number of premature pre-action disclosure applications brought by the same firm of solicitors in the Liverpool County Court.

The pre-action protocol clearly sets out that the Defendant has 21 days to acknowledge a letter of claim and then a further 3 months to investigate the claim and to provide a decision on liability. In each instance, the Defendant had acknowledged the letter of claim within 21 days. In accordance with the protocol, the Defendant had then investigated the claim and reported back to the Claimant within the 3 month period that liability was denied. The Claimant's solicitor then requested that the Defendant provide further documentation within 2 weeks. When the documentation was not provided, the Claimant made a pre-action disclosure application.

Forbes argued that it was not appropriate to bring a pre-action disclosure application during the 3 month protocol period for investigating the claim. The purpose of the 3 month window is to allow the Defendant time to fully investigate the claim. It was contended that when further information is requested during the 3 month period then the Defendant should be entitled to carry out further investigations. The court agreed and ordered on each occasion that the application issued was premature.

Forbes comment

Pre-action disclosure applications have been viewed by Claimant solicitors as an easy way to make money and they are often used as a method to recoup money on claims where there is minimal hope of success. If an application for pre-action disclosure is brought during the 3 month investigation period then the application should be contested even if liability has already been denied in that period and earlier disclosure provided. For further information or assistance please contact Jessica Wynne at our Blackburn office on 01254 662831 or email Jessica.wynne@forbessolicitors.co.uk

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