The rules give the court two distinct powers which may be used to achieve this. Rule 3.4 enables the court to strike out the whole or part of a statement of case which discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending a claim (rule 3.4(2)(a)), or which is an abuse of the process of the court or otherwise likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings (rule 3.4(2)(b)) Rule 24.2 enables the court to give summary judgment against a claimant or defendant where that party has no real prospect of succeeding on his claim or defence. Both those powers may be exercised on an application by a party or on the court’s own initiative.
This practice direction sets out the procedure a party should follow if he wishes to make an application for an order under rule 3.4.
The following are examples of cases where the court may conclude that particulars of claim (whether contained in a claim form or filed separately) fall within rule 3.4(2)(a):
(1) those which set out no facts indicating what the claim is about, for example ÂMoney owed Â£5000″,
(2) those which are incoherent and make no sense,
(3) those which contain a coherent set of facts but those facts, even if true, do not disclose any legally recognisable claim against the defendant.
A claim may fall within rule 3.4(2)(b) where it is vexatious, scurrilous or obviously ill-founded.
A defence may fall within rule 3.4(2)(a) where:
(1) it consists of a bare denial or otherwise sets out no coherent statement of facts, or
(2) the facts it sets out, while coherent, would not even if true amount in law to a defence to the claim.
A party may believe he can show without a trial that an opponent’s case has no real prospect of success on the facts, or that the case is bound to succeed or fail, as the case may be, because of a point of law (including the construction of a document). In such a case the party concerned may make an application under rule 3.4 or Part 24 (or both) as he thinks appropriate.