In a post in Civil Litigation Brief I set out the problems caused by a “bare denial” in a defence. This can be a problem in fatal accident claims, particularly where, for instance, the defence “denies” that a claimant is a dependant but gives no detail of that denial. The law relating to this is set out in the post. However the Part 18 questions given as an example are in a fatal accident context. They deal with the issue of where the defence merely “denies” that a party is a dependant and does not file a counter-schedule.
THE PART 18 REQUESTS
“1. In paragraph 3 and 7 of the Defence it is “denied” that the claimant is or was a dependant of the deceased for the purposes of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976.
The Defence does not comply with the rules of court. CPR 16.5(2) states that where a defendant denies an allegation “he must state his reason for doing so”.
Kindly comply with the rules of court.
(1) State, with that particularity that will enable the Claimant to know the case she will have to meet at trial, why the Defendant denies the Claimant was a dependant.
(2) CPR 16.5(2)(b) requires a defendant to “state its own version” of events if it is to put forward a different version of events. If the Defendant is denying the Claimant’s claim then comply with the rules of court and state, with full particularity, the version of events that the Defendant will put forward in support of its assertion that the Claimant is not a dependant.
At paragraph 9 of the Defence the Defendant “denies” the claim for financial and non financial dependency contained within the Claimant’s Schedule of Loss.
(1) Yet again the Defendant fails to comply with the rules of court.
(i) State, with full particularity, why the claim for financial dependency is denied.
(ii) State whether, if the Claimant establishes he is a dependant, the Defendant admits the claim as pleaded in full.
(2) If the claim in the Schedule is not admitted in full state, with full particularity why the Defendant has felt it is able to ignore the provisions of the rules, in particular PD 16,12.2 and file a counter schedule.
(For the avoidance of doubt the Claimant will argue, at the trial of this action, that the Defendant’s failure to comply with the rules, to plead the Defence fully and to file a counter-schedule, means that the Defendant requires relief from sanctions if it is going to seek to challenge the Claimant’s case on damages. On the Defendant’s case as pleaded it is not open to the Defendant to adduce any positive case at trial. Further the Defendant is not able to challenge the items in the Schedule).”
Any defendant who ignores and turns up at trial hoping to argue dependency and damages cannot argue that they had not been warned.