COURT OF APPEAL UPHOLDS REFUSAL TO ALLOW DEFENDANTS TO WITHDRAW FROM ADMISSIONS: “THE STATEMENT OF TRUTH IS NO EMPTY FORMALITY”
In Clarkson v Future Resources FZE & Ors  EWCA Civ 230 the Court of Appeal upheld a judge’s decision not to allow the defendants permission to withdraw an admission. It is an important reminder of the quality of the information needed when a party applies to withdraw from an admissions, further the judgment emphasises the importance of the statement of truth. A party who signs a statement of truth needs to explain why the document was not correct.
“… it is fundamental to an application of this kind that the judge is given a full and frank explanation of how things have gone wrong, and the basis on which the admission is to be withdrawn. This should include how the admission came to be made in the first place and the grounds upon which the applicant seeks to withdraw the admission, including whether or not new evidence has come to light which was not available at the time of the admission.”
The action was a dispute in relation to funds used to purchase property, and the subsequent litigation. The claimant asserted that some of the defendants had received sums that had been advanced. This receipt was initially admitted in the defence. The defendants then sought to amend the defence to put receipt of the sums in issue. The judge refused the defendants’ application to withdraw. The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal. That part of the appeal was unsuccessful.
THE COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT ON WITHDRAWAL OF ADMISSIONS
The Court of Appeal noted that no evidence had been put in to support the application to withdraw from admissions. The defendants relied on one letter that, it was said, the judge had overlooked. However that letter raised more questions than it answered and did not provide the material that was necessary to support the application.