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Trial judge permitted breadth of proposed amendments to statement of claim to go too far

By: Colm Scott Byrne BL

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Court of Appeal: (i) allows appeal and varies an order of the High Court in part that allowed the plaintiff to make all the amendments sought to its statement of claim, on the grounds that: (a) the trial judge was in principle correct to permit the proposed amendments to proceed but allowed the breadth of the amendments to go too far; (b) the circumstances of the case were unique both in the nature and the complexity of the litigation, and those contributed to the necessity for the third-party funding application and consequently the delay was not such which of itself requires the amendments to be refused; (c) permitting the amendments that alleged errors of process which may or may not amount to an illegality as opposed to the original claim that errors of process were brought about by corruption would be be materially prejudicial to the defendants and would be unjust; (d) the amendments that would amount to a claim of ordinary irregularities in the evaluation process would amount to a new claim to which the Statute of Limitations would apply and no useful purpose would be served by permitting said amendments; (e) the amendment to include a claim against the fourth defendant for unjust enrichment was sufficiently pleaded; and (f) the amendment to include claim for restitution for unjust enrichment against the fourth defendant was permitted as no specific prejudice could be identified and issues relating to delay and the statute of limitations should be dealt with by the trial judge; and (ii) schedules the amended statement of claim with the permitted amendments to the judgement.

Donnelly J (nem diss): Appeal of a decision of the High Court to permit the plaintiff to make all amendments to its statement of claim as sought - substantive case concerns the award of the second pan-European cellular digital land based mobile communications system (GSM) licence in 1995 - Order 28, rule 1 of the Rules of the Superior Courts - amendment of statement of claim - corruption - whether the amendments introduced a wholly new claim - whether the amendments ought not to be permitted because of delay - there had been a delay due to the application of the plaintiff for third-party funding of the litigation - whether there was prejudice - whether the statute of limitations applied in relation to new claims being articulated - whether a claim for unjust enrichment could be made against the fourth defendant - whether a claim for restitution could be made against the fourth defendant - fourth defendant had been joined as a defendant in 2014 at his own request - trial judge was correct in principle to allow some amendments but allowing all amendments sought went too far.appeal allowed in part - appeal allowed in part

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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