Whether the name of the defendant can be changed after default judgment has been obtained


The claimant obtained default judgment against the defendant. She then obtained permission to amend the claim form and substitute the name of the defendant for another name, in circumstances where it had become apparent that that was the correct name. The person whose name was added appealed against that order. Reference was made to earlier caselaw in which it was held that an amendment could not be made after "final judgment", which in turn was defined as "a judgment which determines all issues of which the court is seised, as opposed to an interlocutory or interim judgment which leaves the court seised of some issues that it has not yet determined" (see Attorney General v Corporation of Birmingham [1880]).

In this case, it was held that the judgment in default of defence was not a "final judgment" because it had not determined issues of remedy (including the questions of damages and injunction). Dingemans J also held that there is "a difference between adding in a new party who has had nothing to do with the litigation, and identifying the actual name of a party who has participated by making applications, albeit under a different name".  Accordingly, it had been in accordance with the overriding objective to amend the claim form to identify the appellant as the defendant to the action.