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PI and Civil Litigation

Law - practice - procedure

08 JUN 2015

Lloyd v Humphreys & Glasgow Ltd [2015] EWHC 525 (QB)

Lloyd v Humphreys & Glasgow Ltd [2015] EWHC 525 (QB)
Civil Procedure - abuse of process - limitation - notice of claim - asbestos

High Court, Queen's Bench Division

20 March 2015

 Elisabeth Laing J

 Bringing a second claim does not necessarily constitute an abuse of process where there is a separate cause of action. Further, the defendant will find it difficult to rely on prejudice if it has received early notification of a claim, even when that claim is later made out of time.


 The claimant was exposed to asbestos at work and before he died he issued a claim for damages against two of his former employers. They were settled with a small contribution from a third employer. The claimant was later diagnosed with mesothelioma and died. His estate claimed damages from a fourth employer in respect of this.

 The fourth employer was not a party to the first claim and made no contribution to the first claim. The defendant sought to argue that the second claim was an abuse of process and should be statute barred in any event.

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The court found that the claimant was entitled to bring his claim. Just because it would have been more convenient for the claimant to bring his claims together, it did not preclude him from making this second claim. Doing so was not necessarily oppressive and did not constitute an abuse of process. In addition, there was found to be separate cause of action in respect of this second claim. The claimant was perfectly entitled to have it heard.

The defendant further argued that the claim was out of time. The court noted that the claimant had sent the defendant early notification of his claim and the defendant decided not to response. In the circumstances, it could not be said that the defendant was prejudiced and it would have been unjust not to allow the claim. The court therefore exercised its discretion in allowing the claim to continue.


Despite the claimant making his claim under very difficult circumstances, the court found a way to ensure his access to justice was preserved. However, the factors which were found in the claimant’s favour included early notification of the claim which prevented any prejudice suffered by the defendant and this was a separate claim. Each case will of course be fact specific and this case whilst supportive of such claims does not by any means set an outright precedent for future claims.

Adam Dyl & Louise Taylor, Anthony Gold