Sloutsker v Romanova: QBD 5 Mar 2015

The claimant sued for libel in respect of the publication in this jurisdiction of allegations of fabricating evidence, conspiracy to murder, and the bribery and corruption of the prosecutor and judges in criminal proceedings. The defendant now applied to set aside service of proceedings on her outside the jurisdiction.
As to CPR 23.11, Warby J said: ‘Where a party fails to appear at the hearing of an application the court may proceed in their absence: CPR 23.11. This is a power that must be exercised in accordance with the overriding objective. Ms Page properly referred me to authority making it clear that the court should be very careful before concluding that it is appropriate to proceed in the absence of a litigant in person who is seeking for the first time to adjourn a hearing: Fox v Graham Group Ltd (26 July 2001) (Neuberger J); SmithKline Beecham Ltd v GSKline Ltd [2011] EWHC 169 (Ch) (Arnold J), [6]. That is not the situation here, however. The defendant has not sought an adjournment . . Where a litigant fails to appear without giving a reason it is necessary to consider first whether they have had proper notice of the hearing date and the matters, including the evidence, to be considered at the hearing. If satisfied that such notice has been given, the court must examine the available evidence as to the reasons why the litigant has not appeared, to see if this provides a ground for adjourning the hearing.’
. . And ‘This rule enables the court to proceed on the basis of the claimant’s unchallenged particulars of claim. There is no need to adduce evidence or for findings of fact to be made in cases where the defendant has not disputed the claimant’s allegations. That in my judgment will normally be the right approach for the court to take. Examination of the merits will usually involve unnecessary expenditure of time and resources and hence [be] contrary to the overriding objective. It also runs the risk of needlessly complicating matters if an application is later made to set aside the default judgment . .’


Warby J


[2015] EWHC 545 (QB), [2015] 2 Costs LR 321




Civil Procedure Rules 23.11(1)


England and Wales


See AlsoSloutsker v Romanova QBD 21-Jan-2015
The claimant complained that the defendant libelled him in four publications: a blog post written by her on the website of the Moscow-based radio station Echo Moscow. . .

Cited by:

CitedBrett Wilson Llp v Person(s) Unknown, Responsible for The Operation and Publication of The Website QBD 16-Sep-2015
The claimant solicitors sought remedies against the unknown publishers of the respondent website which was said to publish material defamatory of them, and to ampunt to harassment.
Held: The alleged defamatory meanings were not challenged by . .
See AlsoSloutsker v Romanova QBD 16-Jul-2015
Remedies after finding of defamation . .
CitedDhir v Saddler QBD 6-Dec-2017
Slander damages reduced for conduct
Claim in slander. The defendant was said, at a church meeting to have accused the client of threatening to slit her throat. The defendant argued that the audience of 80 was not large enough.
Held: ‘the authorities demonstrate that it is the . .
CitedAhuja v Politika Novine I Magazini Doo and Others QBD 23-Nov-2015
Action for misuse of private information and libel. Application to have set aside leave to serve out of the jurisdiction. The defendant published a newspaper in Serbian, in print in Serbia and online. Though in Serbian, the claimant said that online . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Defamation, Litigation Practice, Costs

Updated: 13 September 2022; Ref: scu.543933