Whether an application to court can be amended

The claimant applied, by notice, for summary judgment on the defendant's counterclaim. After judgment on the scope of the application, the claimant sought to amend his application, to add in further grounds. The issue to be decided was therefore whether a party can simply amend its application to the court or whether this instead amounts to a further, free-standing, application. Ordinarily, this would not matter, but in this case, a deadline had been set to bring the application for summary judgment, and that deadline had since passed (so that, if this is a new application, it would be subject to a stay).

There is no prior caselaw on whether an application notice under the CPR may be amended once issued.

Master Matthews held that the court's general case management power under CPR r3.1(2)(m) allows the court to permit an amendment: "In my judgment it will often further the overriding objective if the court allows all issues between the parties about summary judgment to be decided at the same time, rather than require the applicant to issue a fresh application". However, on the facts of the case, Master Matthews did not think it would be right to give permission to amend.