THE COURT FINDS IT DOES NOT HAVE JURISDICTION TO ORDER A TRANSFER FROM PART 8 TO PART 7

This is a note about a hearing I was involved in today (16th December 2020). A decision by Deputy Master Yoxall.  For various reasons I cannot name the parties, however I have my Instructing Solicitors’ permission to set out the basic issue and decision.  It is the question of whether a judge can order the transfer of proceedings from Part 8 to Part 7 after the judge has made an order approving liability on behalf of a child.

THE FACTS

The child claimant was seriously injured in an accident. The parties came to an agreement in relation to liability and the claimant issued Part 8 proceedings to get the offer on liability approved.

THE ORDER AT THE APPROVAL HEARING

The judge approved the order and then directed that a CMC be heard to determine whether the matter should proceed under Part 7 in relation to the assessment of damages.  That hearing was listed before the Master.

THE DISPUTE BETWEEN THE PARTIES

The claimant contended that the Part 7 proceedings could not continue as the approval had determined the Part 8 application and there was no action extant for the court to make directions in.

The defendants argued that the claimant had agreed to the order that a CMC be held and that CPR 8.1(3) gave the court a power “at any stage” to order that Part 8 proceedings be transferred to Part 7.

THE MASTER’S DECISION: NO JURISDICTION

The Master found that he had no jurisdiction.  Once the Court had approved the settlement in relation to liability, which was the only matter brought before the Court,  the Part 8 proceedings had ended, apart from bringing its terms into effect.  The question of whether the court had jurisdiction to transfer had not been canvassed before the judge who made the order (which had effectively been made by consent).   The Master found that there was nothing in the Part 8 action that could continue.   The fact that the claimant had agreed to the order listing the matter for a hearing did not give the court jurisdiction.

A POINT TO WATCH

This was a fairly unusual issue.  It raises the issue of whether the parties, who want Part 8 actions to continue as Part 7 should obtain an order transferring the matter to Part 7 before the approval takes place.