birketts – When can a claim be dismissed by the courts as an ‘abuse of process’?


As many readers may well be aware, it is possible for the courts to dismiss a claim at a preliminary stage if that claim is so speculative as to be an ‘abuse of process’. The benefit to a defendant of having a claim against it dealt with finally and summarily at an initial stage of the proceedings does not need to be amplified; an early knock-out blow is self-evidently a good thing.

However, readers will probably not be too surprised to learn that the courts do not take such action lightly, as shown in the recent case of USAF Nominee No 18 Limited v. Watkin Jones & Son Limited [2021], heard in the Technology and Construction Court (TCC). In this case the TCC demonstrated again just how hard it is to have a claim struck out as an abuse of process.

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