Case Digest: You wait for ages for one to come along and then… The “STYLIANI Z”

Hot on the heels of the recent C/A judgment in The “STOLT KESTREL” a judgment handed down today by Teare J in the Admiralty Court.

Another case which shows the importance of issuing the correct Claim Form. The poor solicitor thought he had issued an in rem claim form but had in fact issued an in personam one. The former has to be served (or renewed) within 12 months of issue the latter four months. You can guess the problem and how the solicitor must have felt when he realised.

The Admiralty Registrar held that as the claim form had not been served within four months of issue, service should be set aside. He also dismissed the Claimants' applications for relief under CPR 3.10 and CPR 6.15.

CPR 3.10 provides that:

"Where there has been an error of procedure such as a failure to comply with a rule or practice direction-

(a) the error does not invalidate any step taken in the proceedings unless the court so orders; and

(b) the court may make an order to remedy the error."

Teare J overruled the Registrar and allowed relief under CPR3.10 holding that :

“Having considered the circumstances of this case and the guidance given by the Court of Appeal in the cases to which I have been referred I have reached the conclusion that the just order, and one that promotes the overriding objective, is to remedy [the] error of procedure...”

Teare J ruled however that the Claimant solicitor's clients had to pay the costs.

View full judgment text of The "STYLIANI Z"