A High Court judge has struck out a claim where the claimant had already obtained full redress through the PPI ADR scheme and then issued proceedings to recover legal costs. Whilst recognising that the case related to the PPI saga, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC said that the case may have wider applicability outside that sphere. He commented on the obligations of claimants to use ADR schemes where such schemes offer “speedy justice” and “full redress”, as follows:

"The civil court must not allow its process (and resources – limited and precious as they are) to be used unwarrantably when a civil litigant has already achieved full redress or has the option to achieve full redress via an effective alternative remedy."

If there is a realistic prospect of obtaining a larger amount of damages or “other material advantage” (and not simply the recovery of costs) then litigation should be allowed to proceed. However, where the advantage was simply to recover costs then this would be an improper purpose and an abuse of the court process.

This is further evidence of the Court’s willingness to push parties to seek alternative dispute resolution methods before (or in place of) issuing proceedings.

Judgment: Binns v Firstplus Financial Group Plc [2013] EWHC 2436 (QB) (handed down on 24 July 2013)