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Gregory v Bartlett (deceased)

15 September 2000
The issues

Whether a late amendment increasing the value of the claim should be allowed and whether in those circumstances a Trial date should be vacated.

The facts

The Claimant was injured in accident in 1996. Proceedings issued in 1998 limiting the claim to £50,000. In October 1999 a Schedule was served to claim for loss of earnings of £40,000. In January 2000 the District Judge gave Claimant permission to update the Schedule allowing him until March to do so. That date was extended by agreement to early April. The claim was produced reducing the Schedule produced in March reducing the claim for lost earnings to £29,000. An assessment was set for May. In April at a telephone Hearing the District Judge allowed an amendment to the Schedule increasing the claim to £135,000 on the basis that recent evidence showed that the earnings of a roofer were greater than that pleaded. The order vacated the trial. The Defendant appealed.

The decision

It was wholly inappropriate to allow the amendment and the consequent vacation of the trial. It was far too late to allow all previous calculations of the claim to be abandoned. The explanation that the employment expert had tried several times to get hold of a witness but had failed was deemed unsatisfactory.

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