Can a party be added to court proceedings after issue?
There are various reasons why a party can be added, and it may be done at the request of the Claimant and / or the Defendant.
CPR 19.2 sets out the legal test for when a party can be added to a claim or substituted.
The court may order a person to be added as a new party if:-
- It is desirable so that the court can resolve all matters in dispute in the proceedings;
- There is an issue involving the new party and an existing party which is connected to the dispute in the proceedings, and it is desirable to add the new party so that the court can resolve that issue;
The court may order a new party to be substituted for an existing party, if:-
- The existing party’s interest / liability has passed to the new party; and
- It is desirable to substitute the new party so that the court can resolve matters in dispute in the proceedings.
In order to add a party, an application to court must be made (with or without notice) and must be supported by evidence.
The court may remove, add or substitute parties of its own initiative.
Adding / substituting a claimant
No party can be added or substituted as a claimant to proceedings, unless they have given their consent in writing, and the proposed amended Claim Form and Particulars of Claim have been filed with the court.
There are specific rules relating to whether a party can be added or substituted after the end of a limitation period. These are set out at CPR 19.6.
Unless the court decides otherwise, the party applying to add a new party by amendment of the claim, shall be responsible for the costs of the amendment.
Reasons why a party may be added (examples)
A Claimant may discover through disclosure (or some other way) that they are entitled to a remedy against another party, which they were not aware of at the time the claim was commenced.
A Defendant may wish to add a co-Defendant from which it can seek a contribution or indemnity in respect of any liability owed to the Claimant.
Where a party is insured, their insurer may be added to the claim.
If you are already involved in court proceedings and require advice on adding, substituting or removing a party from proceedings, please contact our commercial litigation team via the link, or call 020 7632 4300.