The court will only expedite a trial where a claimant has pursued its claim efficiently, there is no prejudice to the defendant and it is proportionate to do so.

This was the view of the court in The Law Debenture Trust Corp Plc v Elektrim SA & Anr. The claimant sought to expedite the trial of its claim against the defendant which was subject to bankruptcy proceedings in Poland. The claim had been ongoing for over two years and had progressed only slowly. The claimant required a judgment so it would be eligible to vote at the creditors' meeting in Poland and be included on the list of creditors prior to the defendant's assets being distributed amongst those creditors. If it was not included, there would be no assets against which to enforce any subsequent judgment.

The court refused to expedite the trial on the basis that the claim had been in existence for some considerable time and the claimant had known of the bankruptcy timetable, and the difficulties that a bankruptcy would entail, for almost a year before applying for the expedited trial. Given the intricacies of the case, the court considered that the defendant could be prejudiced by the unreasonably short directions timetable that would be necessary to achieve an expedited trial. Finally, the court looked at the requirements of other litigants against the unimpressive history of this litigation in terms of speed and decided that an expedited trial should not be ordered.

Things to consider

Especially in the current economic climate, it is essential that proceedings are progressed as swiftly as possible so judgments can be obtained and enforced. Delay will not be looked on favourably should an expedited trial be sought.