Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED November 24, 2003

The master was correct not to allow the claimant to serve a claim form out of time in the absence of any exceptional circumstances.Appeal from the decision of Master Yoxall of 29 July 2003 to refuse the claimant ('C') permission to dispense with service of a claim form by exercising his discretion under CPR 6.9. C was injured in a road traffic accident on 11 November 1999. C presented herself for treatment at a hospital run by the first defendant ('D1') on 13 November 2003. C alleged that the defendants were negligent in the treatment of her injuries. C was given permission to serve a claim form by 22 April 2003. On 25 March 2003 C's solicitors at that time sent a letter to D1 enclosing a claim form, but the letter expressly stated that service of the claim form was not being effected. On 21 April 2003, a bank holiday, C's solicitors at that time sent to D1, by both first class post and fax, a claim form with particulars of claim attached. C also purported to serve the second defendant by the same method. Neither defendant had agreed to accept service by fax. On 29 July 2003 Master Yoxall decided that the deemed day of service was 23 or 24 April 2003 and refused to exercise his discretion under CPR 6.9 to allow C retrospectively to dispense with service of the claim form. In this appeal C submitted that the circumstances of her case were such that they amounted to exceptional circumstances and that the master should have exercised his discretion in her favour.HELD: The circumstances of the present case were not sufficient to amount to exceptional circumstances and the master had not erred in law by refusing to exercise his discretion under CPR 6.9. The master, in reaching his decision, was aware of all the evidence and had taken all the relevant authorities into account (Rhiannan Anderton v Clwyd County Council (2002) EWCA Civ 933 applied).Appeal dismissed.

[2004] EWHC 1571 (QB)