To enable courts to manage cases efficiently the "Aldi requirement" (from the 2007 Court of Appeal case ofAldi Stores Ltd v WSP Group plc and others) obliges parties to consult and seek guidance from the court on decisions as to whether potential defendants to a claim should be joined into an existing action, or may instead be pursued in later separate proceedings.
A recent decision considered the "Aldi requirement", but held that not complying is not, without more, sufficient to justify strike out for abuse of process. The defendants, Threadneedle, argued that the claimants, Otkritie, had not complied with the "Aldi requirement" by obtaining the endorsement of the court not to pursue the claims in earlier proceedings, and that this meant that its claims in the later proceedings should be struck out as an abuse of process. The defendants submitted that the requirement was mandatory, and failure to comply with it meant that Otkritie had lost any right to pursue them in separate proceedings. The Commercial Court agreed that the potential for litigation against the defendants should have been raised in earlier proceedings, and said that the course taken by the claimants was "not a responsble approach to commercial litigation"; but that did not mean that the claim should have been brought in the previous proceedings or not at all: breach of the Aldi requirement did not necessarily constitute an abuse of process, and did not in this case. The court could express its disapproval through costs orders.
Finally, the court noted that it is open to defendants to raise potential claims – against other defendants or even further claims that might be brought against them – in compliance with the parties' obligation to assist the court in further the Overriding Objective (CPR 3.1). The Aldi requirement applied to all parties.
Otkritie Capital International Ltd and another –v- Threadneedle Asset Management Limited and another, Commercial Court, 7 August 2015