Summary judgment can be applied for where one party believes that there is a good reason why the case should be disposed of as soon as possible. The Rules relating to summary judgment are contained in CPR24.2.
Rule 24.2 states that
The court may give summary judgment against a claimant or defendant on the whole of a claim or on a particular issue if –
(a) it considers that –
(i) that claimant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim or issue; or
(ii) that defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim or issue; and
(b) there is no other compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at a trial.
So an application for summary judgment may be made where one party thinks the other side’s case is completely hopeless, or where there is some other reason shy the case should not be disposed of at trial. The reason why a case ought not to proceed could be varied, so if you consider that there is a good reason why an opponent’s case should not proceed then you should undertake the proper legal research and advise your client accordingly.
An application for summary judgment is made using a N244 form in the normal way. This will have to be supported by evidence in support, which may be limited to a witness statement from the instructed solicitor.
The respondent should be given 14 days notice of any hearing date and be able to file and serve and written evidence in opposition to the application (assuming it is opposed) seven dates before the hearing.
The Judge could make a number of different orders in response to the application. They could dismiss the application and the case will proceed as normal. They could decide in favour of the applicant in which case the summary judgment will be granted. The Judge could also make a conditional order, meaning that the case can continue but on the condition that certain steps are taken by a particular party.
The nature of costs following an application for summary judgement will depend on the result. If summary judgment has been obtained then costs are likely to be granted to the successful applicant along with their costs of the case to date. If the Judge makes a conditional order then it may be appropriate for the issue of costs in the application to await the final disposal of the case.