CPR r.16 and PD 16 set out various rules about how to plead particulars of claim eg they should be concise and contain sufficient detail of the claim(s). The Chancery Guide also contains further provisions eg separate, consecutively numbered paragraphs and sub-paragraphs.

The statement of case setting out the defendant's counterclaim in this case did not comply with those requirements. It was too prolix to enable a point by point defence to be pleaded, it mixed together claims against different parties and there were no proper particulars of the claims. Master Matthews noted that "the rules of procedure must equally protect the person responding to a claim as much as they enable the claimant to put forward his or her claim". Furthermore, although "at the margins" the courts will allow a little more leeway to litigants in person, "it is desirable to stress that there are not in our system two sets of rules, one for those who employ lawyers, and one for those who do not".

Here, the claimant could not plead to the counterclaim in practice and hence the Master ordered the counterclaim to be struck out. In so doing, he took into account a Court of Appeal decision (Walsham Chalet v Tallington Lakes (2014)) to the effect that the principles which apply to applications for relief from sanctions are "relevant and important" to applications for an order striking out a statement of case as well.