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Cheng I Food Co Ltd v Theotoko Maritime Inc, Queen's Bench Division, 21 July 2000

2 November 2000
The issues

Striking out – delay – prejudice.

The facts

Commercial claim – the Claimants were purchasers of a cargo of maize, brought an action against the owners of a vessel. Points of claim were served in March 1996 and were amended in August 1996. In September 1996 they were served and Lists exchanged in January 1997. There was a delay in the process of inspection. In March 2000 CMC was requested. The Claimant applied pursuant to Pat 3 Rule 3.4.(2)(c) for the claim to be struck out on the ground inter alia that undue delay had caused prejudice. In particular the ships Master now resident in Greece was no longer willing to appear at Court.

The decision

The Application would be allowed. There had been a substantial and unjustified delay. The delay had caused prejudice. Although the ship’s Master had provided a statement it was important for the evidence to be given orally in this case and for an opportunity to be available for cross examination. Having regard to the length of delay and lack of explanation – the nature of the claim and the overriding objective of the rules – it was appropriate that the action should be struck out.

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