Inordinate Delay in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Birkett v James
    • House of Lords
    • 25 Mayo 1977

    To justify dismissal of an action for want of prosecution the delay relied upon must relate to time which the plaintiff allows to lapse unnecessarily after the writ has been issued. A late start makes it the more incumbent upon the plaintiff to proceed with all due speed and a pace which might have been excusable if the action had been started sooner may be inexcusable in the light of the time that has already passed before the writ was issued.

  • Securum Finance Ltd v Ashton and another
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 21 Junio 2000

    The position, now, is that the court must address the application to strike out the second action with the overriding objective of the CPR in mind – and must consider whether the claimant's wish to have "second bite at the cherry" outweighs the need to allot its own limited resources to other cases.

  • Allen v Sir Alfred McAlpine & Sons Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 11 Enero 1968

    But also, if after the plaintiff has been guilty of unreasonable delay the defendant so conducts himself as to induce the plaintiff to incur further costs in the reasonable belief that the defendant intends to exercise his right to proceed to trial notwithstanding the plaintiff's delay, he cannot obtain dismissal of the action unless the plaintiff has thereafter been guilty of further unreasonable delay.

  • Grovit and Others v Doctor and Others
    • House of Lords
    • 24 Abril 1997

    The courts exist to enable parties to have their disputes resolved. To commence and to continue litigation which you have no intention to bring to conclusion can amount to an abuse of process. Where this is the situation the party against whom the proceedings is brought is entitled to apply to have the action struck out and if justice so requires (which will frequently be the case) the courts will dismiss the action.

  • Rath v C. S. Lawrence & Partners
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 18 Diciembre 1990

    For this purpose a causal link must be proved between the delay and the inability to have a fair trial or other prejudice, as the case may be.

  • Thorpe v Alexander Fork Lift Trucks Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 20 Junio 1975

    As I said in Sweeney's case (1974) 1 W. L. R. 208, theplaintiff is not entitled to delay as of right for four years from the accident, three years before issuing the writ and another year for service. It is his duty, once the writ is issued, to serve it promptly and get on with it promptly. So in this case it was the duty of the plaintiff, having issued the writ, to serve it promptly and to proceed with the case with expedition.

  • Arbuthnot Latham Bank Ltd v Trafalgar Holdings Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 16 Diciembre 1997

    In exercising its discretion as to whether to strike out the second action, that court should start with the assumption that if a party has had one action struck out for abuse of process some special reason has to be identified to justify a second action being allowed to proceed.

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Legislation
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Books & Journal Articles
  • THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION IN INDIA
    • No. 31-3, September 1953
    • Public Administration
    ... ... not recommended by the P.S.C., and criticised the inordinate delay in making a reference to the Commission. But these ... ...
  • Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
    • No. 61-3, August 1997
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The
    • 0000
  • Emerging African Jurisprudence Suggesting the Desirability of the Abolition of Capital Punishment
    • No. , February 2015
    • African Journal of International and Comparative Law
    • 1-28
    ... ... The invitation to states parties not to invoke anything ‘to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment’ is simply ... a penalty mandatorily prescribed by law or where there has been inordinate delay in executing a convicted capital offender whose death sentence has ... ...
  • Frustrating Delay
    • No. 46-6, November 1983
    • The Modern Law Review
    ... ... time is not of the e~sence,~ or where no time at all has been fixed for performance, or where P is prejudiced by inordinate delay in rendering his own performance. In these cases P is only discharged if the delay has bleen or will be so long as ... ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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