Grovit and Another v Doctor and Others: CA 28 Oct 1993

A delay in the prosecution of a libel case can be interpreted as an abuse of process. A claimant must pursue his case with vigour, and the court should be ready to resist the use of actions to gag defendants. The court asked whether the appellant’s conduct amounts to an abuse of process. Having done so he concludes that it was proper to infer that the appellants motive in delaying the libel action did constitute an abuse of process: ‘Where delay results from an abuse of process, in my judgment these facts can properly be said to be exceptional and thus the abuse of process coupled with the anxiety to the defendants amount to significant prejudice which justifies the court in striking out the pleadings and dismissing the action for want of prosecution.’
Glidewell LJ said: ‘If the Plaintiff delays in prosecuting such an action, and gives no valid explanation for his delay, the court is entitled to infer that his motive for the delay is not a proper one.’


Glidewell LJ, Evans LJ


Ind Summary 13-Dec-1993


England and Wales

Cited by:

Appeal fromGrovit and others v Doctor and others HL 24-Apr-1997
The plaintiff began a defamation action against seven defendants. Each had admitted publication but pleaded justification. The claims against the fourth to seventh defendants were dismissed by consent, and the third had gone into liquidation. The . .
CitedWahab v Khan and Others; In re Abdus Sattar Sheikh deceased ChD 12-Apr-2011
The claimant had asked the court to revoke the probate granted in his brother’s estate. He appealed now against a strike out of his request. He alleged that the will was a forgery. The executor’s and defendants were not relations of the deceased, . .
CitedMorrissey v McNicholas and Another QBD 26-Oct-2011
The claimant musician alleged defamation, saying that the defendant had accused him of being a right wing racist. The defendant now applied to strike out the claim as an abuse of process because of the claimant’s delay.
Held: The application . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice

Updated: 30 May 2022; Ref: scu.81064