Discontinuance of a claim
Discontinuance of a claim

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Discontinuance of a claim
  • What is 'discontinuance'?
  • Reasons for discontinuing
  • Discontinuance of part of a claim
  • Is the court's permission required to discontinue?—CPR 38.2(2)(a)
  • Interim payments—CPR 38.2(2)(b)
  • Where there is more than one claimant
  • Where there is more than one defendant
  • How to discontinue a claim
  • Is a notice of discontinuance required where the court’s permission is required to discontinue?
  • more

What is 'discontinuance'?

Discontinuance is the means by which a claimant can bring all or part of the proceedings it has instigated to an end.

A claimant has a right to discontinue all or part of a claim at any time.

Where proceedings are brought to an end without an order or judgment from a court, eg where a claim is settled or stayed or an application is adjourned, this is not discontinuance and will not be treated as such for costs purposes. For an example of a case where the court was required to determine on the facts whether it was dealing with discontinuance for costs purposes or not, see Dainford Navigation v PDVDS Petroleo.

Given that, in most circumstances, it is tantamount to an admission or complete concession, the claimant is usually required to pay all parties' costs—see below.

In most circumstances, the defendant will make at least some contribution to the claimant's costs so it is more usual for the parties to reach a settlement setting out who will pay what costs. Frequently, this will be in the form of a Tomlin Order (see Practice Notes: Tomlin orders and Consent orders and judgments).

A defendant who wishes to stop defending a claim should admit liability and judgment will be entered with costs (see Practice Note: After a claim has been served