Thursday, 3 January 2013

Law report - delay and fair trial

Craig v Wilson [2012] SC (Bda) 74 Civ

The Plaintiff had had a sixteen month delay in taking out a summons for directions for trial. This was on top of existing delays for a writ that was issued in June 2008.
The Defendant said that the delays had prejudiced his right to a fair trial as he no longer had documents that he relied on for his defence.

Hellman J held that while the delay was excessive and inexcusable, it had not prejudiced the Defendant's right to a fair trial, as there was no evidence that the documents had been lost due to the period of delay. It was for the Defendant to obtain and preserve documents that he relied upon.

The lost documents do not go to liability but only to quantum. If documentation is unavailable, the court can where appropriate give allowance for this.

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