A GLO has been made in this case. CPR Part 19 Section III allows courts to make GLOs where there are, or are likely to be, a number of claims giving rise to the same issues. Although the claimant here had pleaded a claim in its particulars of claim, it did so only in very general terms, without any factual allegations. The defendant also pleaded a defence in only very general terms. Matters of contention were not identified in the pleadings.
The justification for this approach was said to be derived from observations of Lord Woolf in Boake Allen Ltd v HMRC (see Weekly Update 23/07). In this case, the Court of Appeal pointed out that Lord Woolf's observations were only obiter and that his comments that each procedural step need only be taken once where a GLO was in place did not suggest that basic steps in litigation may be ignored or not taken at all: "All that Lord Woolf was saying was that the steps in question need only be taken once, collectively, on behalf of all members of the group, rather than being taken by each litigant individually". It was in that context that he said that, for a GLO, "a claim form need be no more than the simplest of documents". He was not referring, though, to particulars of claim (or a defence).
The rules plainly envisage that particulars of claim will be served, and the Court of Appeal pointed out that relevant facts must be pleaded: "If they are facts generally applicable to all claimants, they may be pleaded in Group Particulars of Claim; if they are specific to a particular claimant they may be set out in a schedule".