Ferreira v The American Embassy Employees Association

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date24 June 1995

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Nourse, Lord Justice Roch and Lord Justice Hutchison

American Embassy Employees' Association

Practice - county court - application to extend time is implied request for hearing date

Application includes hearing date request

An application to extend the time for setting down a county court action was by implication to be taken as including a request for a hearing date to be fixed in the event of an extension being refused.

The Court of Appeal so held dismissing an interlocutory appeal by the defendants, the American Embassy Employees' Association, from the refusal in March 1995 by Judge Simpson in the Mayor's and City of London County Court to hold that the proceedings by the plaintiff, Eduardo Ferreira, had been automatically struck out under Order 17, rule 11(9) of the County Court Rules (SI 1981 No 1687 (L 20)), as substituted by rule 14 of the County Court (Amendment No 3) Rules (SI 1990 No 1764 (L 17)) for his failure to request a hearing date within 15 months of the close of the pleadings.

Order 17, rule 11 provides: "(3) When the pleadings are deemed to be closed, the following directions shall take effect … (d) unless a day has already been fixed, the plaintiff shall within six months request the proper officer to fix a day for the hearing…

"(9) If no request is made pursuant to paragraph (3)(d) within 15 months of the day on which pleadings are deemed to be closed … the action shall be automatically struck out."

Mr Christopher Purchas, QC and Mr James Laughland for the defendants; Miss Laura Cox, QC and Mr Dennis Sharpe for the plaintiff.

LORD JUSTICE ROCH said that the plaintiff had had an accident at work which he said was caused by the negligence and breach of statutory duty of the defendants. Proceedings were commenced in April 1993 and pleadings had closed on July 1, 1993.

On August 30, 1994 the plaintiff had issued an application seeking an extension of the 15-month period. On February 1995 District Judge Samuels had rejected the defendant's submission that the action had to be automatically struck out because no request to fix a day for the hearing had been made within 15 months and held that the application seeking an extension of time was an implied request to fix a day for the hearing in the event of the extension of time being...

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