DEFENDANT REFUSED PERMISSION TO RESILE FROM ADMISSION: GRANTING THE APPLICATION WOULD “REFLECT BADLY ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM”
In Shah v London Borough of Barnet  EWHC 2631 (QB) Master Stevens refused the defendant’s application for permission to resile from a pre-action admission.
“On the particular facts of this case, I believe it would reflect poorly on the justice system to allow the defendant another last “bite at the cherry” in respect of liability arguments when so many experienced claims handlers have reviewed the matter already, and over a considerable period of time. An important component of the overriding objective is compliance with rules and practice directions and therefore with protocols. The purpose of the pre-action protocols is to narrow issues and resolve disputes, or parts of them, wherever possible without having to engage expensive court resource. If issues are to be re-opened at a later stage there need to be very good reasons as the overriding objective makes clear. There are likely to always be some cases where there is a reappraisal of liability risk assessments and it is appropriate, for a combination of reasons, to allow an admission to be resiled from, but this should not be commonplace.”
The claimant had been injured when he fell over an uneven pavement, the defendant was the relevant highway authority. The defendant initially denied liability but later wrote stating that “liability will no longer be in issue”.
THE DEFENDANT’S APPLICATION
The defendant made an application to resile from the admission just under 12 months after it had made the admission).