A Part 18 Request for Further Information can be made by a party to litigation where the other party’s statement of case does not provide enough information about a matter in their claim or defence. Its purpose is to clarify matters with a view to narrowing issues in dispute prior to trial with a view to controlling the costs incurred by the parties. Part 18 Requests are often made with a view to obtaining beneficial information it which has not been pleaded or to draw attention to perceived weaknesses in the other party’s claim.
When to make a Part 18 Request
A Part 18 Request should be made when a party does not have enough information to understand issues relating to the claim or where one party is aware that the other party has not disclosed all of the information in its possession.. It is also useful where a party has filed a statement of case which does not fully take into account all of the facts and issues relating to the claim. Failing to respond to a Part 18 Request may, upon an order of the court, lead to all or part of a statement of case being struck out.
How to make a Part 18 Request
A party must serve a Part 18 Request on the other party, setting out the information it is seeking and a reasonable date for the receiving party to respond. The Practice Direction states that a Part 18 Request “should be concise and strictly confined to matters which are reasonably necessary and proportionate to enable the first party to prepare his own case or to understand the case he has to meet.” Requests should ideally be made in a single comprehensive document, although the Practice Direction does allow for a Part 18 Request to be made in a letter if it is brief and makes clear that it is a Part 18 Request. The letter should not deal with any other matters.
How to respond to a Part 18 Request
The response should make clear that it is a response to the Part 18 Request and should either answer the Request or object to it.
Valid reasons for objecting to a Part 18 Request include:
- The request is irrelevant to the issues in dispute
- The request is nothing more than a fishing expedition for evidence
- The request would incur disproportionate costs
Care should be taken when deciding how to respond to a Part 18 Request, as an unreasonable refusal to do so may lead to all or part of a claim or defence being struck out by the court.