Non-attendance by the parties at trial
Non-attendance by the parties at trial

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

  • Non-attendance by the parties at trial
  • When a party is deemed to be present?
  • What happens when a party is not present?
  • Applying to set aside orders or judgments
  • Application
  • CPR 39.3 and its relationship with CPR 52
  • The relationship between CPR 39.3 and applications for adjournment

For guidance on non-attendance by a party at an interim hearing, see Practice Note: Application hearings—Non-attendance by a party.

When a party is deemed to be present?

A party does not have to be physically present at a hearing/trial. A party is deemed to be present, for the purposes of the CPR provisions, if his legal representative attends court (Rouse).

What happens when a party is not present?

The court can proceed without one or any of the parties being present (CPR 39.3(1)). It has the power in such cases to strike out the claim of the party or parties not present (CPR 39.3(1)). However, CPR 39.3(2) also provides that the court has the power to reinstate the struck out claim so restoring either the entire proceedings or that part of the claim that had been struck out.

Proceeding without a claimant

If the claimant does not attend trial, the court can strike out the claim and any defence to counterclaim (CPR 39.3(1)(b)).

If the defence to counterclaim is struck out, see comments below under ‘Proceeding without a defendant’ as to whether the defendant must seek to prove the counterclaim in order to obtain judgment.

Proceeding without a defendant

If a defendant does not attend trial, the court can strike out that defendant’s defence or counterclaim or both (CPR 39.3(1)(c)).

The court in