Pickthall and Another v Hill Dickinson Llp: CA 11 Jun 2009

The court was asked as to the extent to which it is an abuse of the process for a claimant to commence proceedings without having the relevant cause of action vested in him, and whether it would be right to allow him to amend his pleadings to plead a subsequent assignment of that cause of action when that assignment took place outside the relevant limitation period.
Held: The claim was an abuse of process.
Mann LJ said: ‘In my view the starting point is that where a man starts proceedings knowing that the cause of action is vested in someone else, then it is hard to see why those proceedings are not an abuse. He has started proceedings in which, even if he proves all the facts he wants to prove and establishes all the law he wants to establish, he will still lose because he does not have a right to sue. It is hard to see how that cannot be an abuse. Only people who own causes of action, or who have an appropriate interest in proceedings, have any business asserting the cause of action or starting proceedings. Any other use of the court’s proceedings is improper . . A permitted amendment would not so much cure the abuse of process as be a reward for it. It seems to me to be wrong in principle to confer such rewards on those who act in that way.’
Laws, Thomas, Mann LJJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 543, [2009] CP Rep 40, [2009] PNLR 31
England and Wales
Appeal fromPickthall v Hill Dickinson Llp and Another ChD 13-Oct-2008
The defendant sought to have struck out a claim where the claimant was bankrupt, and the debt was unassigned from the trustee in bankruptcy. . .
CitedNelson v Nelson CA 6-Dec-1996
A solicitor appealed against an order requiring him to contribute to the costs of Mareva injunction applied for on behalf of his bankrupt client.
Held: Solicitors were not liable in costs personally for starting proceedings on behalf of a . .

Cited by:
CitedThames Chambers Solicitors v Miah QBD 16-May-2013
The solicitors appealed against a wasted costs order. They had accepted instructions to act for a bankrupt in pursuing a debt before his discharge and without the debt having been assigned to him by the trustee in bankruptcy.
Held: The order . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 February 2021; Ref: scu.346825