7.1: Application to resolve particular questions or issues
7.3: Summary Judgment (Application and decision)

Case Summary

This appeal arose from a Summary Dismissal Application. The Appellants (Plaintiffs) argued that the Chambers Judge had erred in law for, amongst other things, determining that the Summary Dismissal Application was not an abuse of process. The underlying Summary Dismissal Application was the second one in this Action and was made before the Decision arising from the Appeal of the first Summary Dismissal Application was released.

In the second Summary Dismissal Application the Respondents (Defendants) applied under Rule 7.3 for Summary Dismissal alleging the claim was unmeritorious.

The Court noted that Rule 7.3(1)(b) permits Summary Judgment of all or part of a claim where there is no merit to a claim or part of it. An Application for Summary Judgment was not an Application to resolve a particular question or issue — an Application seeking that relief would need to be made pursuant to Rule 7.1. A Rule 7.3 Application was meant to determine the merits of a claim. The Court noted that it is conceivable that a chambers judge could direct a Summary Judgment Application to be held in stages, delineating certain issues such that the parties are on notice of how and when issues will be determined, but that is not what happened here. In the Court’s view the Second Summary Judgment Application was a blatant attempt to relitigate, making arguments that were available and reasonably should have been made at the First Summary Judgment Application. The Court, therefore, found that the underlying Summary Dismissal Application was an abuse of process and that the Chambers Jude erred in agreeing to hear it.

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