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19 October 2006 - PI Practitioner

Clark v. Chief Constable of Essex [2006] EWHC 2290
If a claim for psychiatric injury is based on the vicarious liability of a defendant for its employees’ actions in deliberately bullying the claimant – but without intending to cause him psychiatric injury – then the claim can only succeed if the injury should have been foreseeable. What was foreseeable depended on the facts of each individual case.

Stoke on Trent City Council v. Walley [2006] EWCA Civ 1137
When a defendant has admitted liability pre-accident, the admission can be withdrawn without the permission of the court – CPR 14 only applied to admissions made in the course of proceedings. The correct approach for a claimant faced with an attempt to resile from a pre-action admission was to apply to strike out the whole or part of the defence, under CPR 3.4.

This requires the claimant to show that the defence was an abuse of the process of the court, or that it was likely to obstruct the just disposal of the case. For the first to succeed, the claimant must normally show bad faith on the defendant’s part. For the second to succeed, the claimant must normally show that he would suffer some prejudice that would affect the fairness of the trial. Without bad faith or prejudice to the claimant, a pre-action admission can be withdrawn.