Excessive-profile authorized campaigners have been dealt a blow of their newest problem to the federal government – after appropriately serving the precise papers a day too late.
Mrs Justice O’Farrell DBE, ruling in R (on the appliance of The Good Law Venture) v The Secretary of State for Well being and Social Care, rejected pleas for an extension of time for serving the claim kind after discovering the failure to impact legitimate service was ‘serious and significant’. An software by the defendant to put aside the claim kind was profitable.
The Good Law Venture, a not-for-profit organisation led by Jo Maugham QC, had sought to problem the lawfulness of the well being secretary’s selections to award contracts for the provision of non-public protecting tools to an organization known as Prescription drugs Direct Restricted, who have been an occasion.
The claimant filed the claim within the administrative court docket on 27 April and emailed an unsealed claim kind to a ‘newproceedings’ e-mail tackle provided by the defendant and used for service. The next day, the court docket issued the claim kind by printing the court docket seal and allocating it a claim quantity, and on the identical day the claimant’s solicitors Bindmans emailed the sealed claim kind to a few named people from the Authorities Authorized Division – one among whom confirmed receipt of the claim. The sealed claim kind was not despatched to the ‘newproceedings’ tackle.
It was frequent floor that point for service of the claim kind expired on 5 Could, and the day after this deadline the GLD raised the difficulty of validity of service with Bindmans, saying the claim kind had not been despatched to the devoted service e-mail tackle. A duplicate of the sealed claim kind was despatched to the ‘newproceedings’ e-mail tackle on 6 Could, making it successfully a day late.
At a listening to final month, legal professionals for the claimant accepted there had been a ‘procedural irregularity’ however mentioned the court docket may right such a mistake inside the guidelines. The decide rejected the argument there had been irregular, however in any other case legitimate, service.
The claimant accused the defendant of enjoying ‘technical games’, having engaged totally with them through the seven-day interval for service of the claim kind and solely objecting to service the day after the deadline had expired. The defendant accepted that people within the GLD had recognized concerning the incorrect service however this alone was not a superb cause to now permit the claimant an extension of time.
The decide concluded it was clear the claimant didn’t take affordable steps to impact service in accordance with the foundations and had used the unsuitable e-mail tackle.
She added: ‘The delay was one day but against the benchmark of seven days. The reason for the failure was a careless mistake made by the solicitors acting for the claimant. Extending time for service of the claim form would deprive the defendant of any accrued limitation defence.’
Jason Coppel QC (instructed by Bindmans LLP) appeared for the claimant. Ewan West and Jonathan Lewis (instructed by Authorities Authorized Division) appeared for the defendant. Louis Browne QC and Anja Lansbergen-Mills (instructed by Brabners LLP) appeared for the occasion.