Summary judgment—principles of approach

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

  • Summary judgment—principles of approach
  • Summary judgment—the Easyair principles—the correct approach
  • Summary judgment—expanding on the Easyair principles
  • General considerations
  • Witness evidence
  • Short points of law or construction
  • Complex cases
  • Disagreement between experts
  • Professional negligence
  • Allegations of fraud
  • More...

Summary judgment—principles of approach

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The guidance detailing normal practice set out in this Practice Note may be affected by measures concerning process and procedure in the civil courts that have been introduced as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For guidance, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19) implications for dispute resolution.

This Practice Note sets out the court’s general approach when considering applications for summary judgment. For guidance on satisfying the specific grounds for obtaining summary judgment, see Practice Notes:

  1. Summary judgment—no real prospect of success

  2. Summary judgment—no other compelling reason for a trial

  3. Summary judgment—relevant factors and examples

Summary judgment—the Easyair principles—the correct approach

CPR 24 and CPR PD 24 provide little guidance on summary judgment applications, beyond the procedural process and consequential orders.

The dicta of Lewison J in the 2009 decision in Easyair Ltd v Opal Telecom (approved by the Court of Appeal in AC Ward v Catlin) is often cited as the starting point for the over-arching principles applicable when determining a summary judgment application. They are:

‘i) The court must consider whether the Claimant has a “realistic” as opposed to a “fanciful” prospect of success: Swain v Hillman [2001] 1 All ER 91, [2000] PIQR P51;

ii) A “realistic” claim is one that carries some degree of conviction. This means a claim that is more than merely arguable: ED & F Man Liquid Products v Patel [2003] EWCA Civ 472 at 8.

iii) In

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