Friern Barnet UDC v Adams: CA 1927

The plaintiff sought the cost of certain streetworks from the relevant frontagers. They did not know their names and issued a writ against ‘the owners of’ certain land clearly identified by name. It was pointed out that only owners of that land at the date of the completion of the works could be liable. In order to cover that point the plaintiff sought to amend the description by adding ‘at the time of the completion of the works.
Held: Leave to amend was properly refused. A writ cannot be issued in the terms proposed referring to the parties sought to be summoned in this vague way. The procedure established by the Act necessarily implies even if it does not expressly state that it is necessary to an action that the defendants should be named. The writ, in not naming the defendants, but merely describing them as the owners of adjoining property, is bad. The plaintiffs do not know, and the writ does not state, whether any one of the defendants is a lunatic, or an infant, or is residing abroad, or is under any kind of disability, in each of which cases some special directions or some special procedure might be required

Lord Hanworth MR
[1927] 2 Ch 25
Judicature Act 1873
England and Wales
Cited by:
DistiunguishedBloomsbury Publishing Group Ltd and J K Rowling v News Group Newspapers Ltd and others ChD 23-May-2003
The publishers had gone to great lengths to keep advance copies of a forthcoming book in the Harry Potter series secret. They became aware that some had been stolen from the printers and sought injunctions against the defendants and another unnamed . .
CitedCameron v Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co Ltd SC 20-Feb-2019
The Court was asked in what circumstances is it permissible to sue an unnamed defendant? The respondent was injured when her car collided with another. The care was insured but by a driver giving a false name. The car owner refused to identify him. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 10 January 2022; Ref: scu.183360