Strike out of parts of witness statements application dismissed in group litigation
Bates and others v Post Office
This decision followed a case management hearing and dismissed an application to strike out roughly one quarter of the lead claimants’ evidence (160 paragraphs of the witness statements). The decision considered the court’s jurisdiction and discretion to strike out witness statement evidence in the context of a group action and shortly prior to a common issues trial. The case is a complex one involving over 500 claimants and a very broad period of time and involves the construction of contracts made between Subpostmasters and the Post Office across that time period.
The judge found that the Post Office, to succeed in their application, had to discharge a heavy burden and had failed to do so. The judge commented that adverse publicity for Post Office was not a matter of concern for the court if the evidence was relevant and admissible. He also warned against the aggressive conduct of litigation, particularly in a group action of this nature.
This article by Adam Heppinstall was first published by Lexis®PSL on 18th October 2018.