Court of Appeal
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Lady Justice Gloster, Lord Justice Floyd, Sir Stanley
25 June 2014
The Judge at first instance had not erred in treating a sum
stated in a defence to a damages claim as an admission, which reduced the
amount in dispute to a level which made the claim suitable for allocation to
the small claims track.
The claimant had claimed damages in his particulars of claim
totalling just over £6,000. The
defendant admitted damages in his defence totalling just under £2,500 and the
claim was allocated to the small claims track on the basis that the defendant’s
partial admission of various heads of the claim reduced the amount in dispute
to under the fast track limit (at the time the threshold for the small claims
track was £5,000). The claimant appealed
against the allocation and his appeal was dismissed. A costs order was also made that he pay the
defendant’s costs of the appeal which the claimant also appealed.
On appeal to the Court of Appeal, it was held that firstly,
the district judge had interpreted the defence as including an unqualified
admission that the claimant was entitled to £2,496 and entered judgment for
that sum. Judgment had been obtained and there had been no application to set
it aside and so CPR Part 26 applied.
Under CPR, r 26.8(1)(a) the financial value of the claim was to be
determined disregarding any sum not in dispute, meaning that in this case,
because £2,500 of a £6,000 claim had been admitted, the value of the claim was
reduced to under £5,000 and the claim should be allocated to the small claims
track (CPR PD 26A, para 7.4(2)).