Determining Jurisdiction in Personal Injury Claims

  • 05 Pages
  • Published On: 20-12-2023

Question 1

Part (i)

The court that has jurisdiction where the proceedings have to be commenced depends on the value of the claim and the nature of the claim. The situation involves personal injury to the client. In personal injury claims, the proper court where the proceedings are to be started is premised on the value of the claim. While County courts also have jurisdiction in this case, even High Court of Judicature has jurisdiction. Where the claim is valued at approximately £80,000 – £85,000 by the solicitor in the case, then the proper court for the proceedings in the High Court and not the County court. The Civil Procedure Rules provide guidance on the jurisdiction. While the jurisdiction of the High Court is based on minimum valuation of £100,000, in claims involving personal injury, claims of more than £50,000 value can be started in the High Court.

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Part (ii)

With respect to the process that needs to be followed by the defendant after receiving the claim and particulars of claim, this is provided in the Civil Procedure Rules, Parts 9, 10, 14, and 15. Part 9 (9.1) provides that the defendant has the legal requirement to respond to a claim once they receive the particulars of claim and not before. Furthermore, 9.2 of the Civil Procedure Rules provides the rules for the acknowledgment of service, defence, and admission. Under Part 10 of the Civil Procedure Rules, the defendant can file an acknowledgment of service, but this is done if the defendant is not able to file a defence within the period specified or where they want to dispute the jurisdiction of the court (10.1). Under Part 14 of the Civil Procedure Rules, notice is given in writing to the claimant by the defendant detailing their response to the claim and on whether the defendant admits the truth and the liability whether in part or in totality (14.1). Under Part 15, the defendant is required to file a defence to the particulars of claim; this is applicable where the defendant wants to defend the claim in whole or in part (15.2). There is a period provided within which the defence has to be filed, except where the acknowledgment of the service is done under 10.1. Other than where 10.1 is applicable, the defendant has to serve the defence within 14 days after service of the particulars of claim (15.2). Where 10.1 is applicable, defence has to be filed 28 days after service of the particulars of claim (15.4).

Part (iii)

This situation involves the use of powers of stop and search by the police; these powers are given to the police officers under the law. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 relevant to the exercise of powers of stop and search powers in Section 1 of the Act. The PACE 1984 is applicable to justify the use of power of stop and search in conditions where the police officers can apply the ‘reasonable suspicion’ test, meaning that the police officers should have justifiable reason for stopping someone with a view to searching them. Therefore, the question is


  1. Richard William Vick and Claude Frederick Shoolbred, The Administration of Civil Justice in England and Wales (Elsevier 2014) 127.
  2. Ben Bradford and Ian Loader, ‘Police, crime and order: The case of stop and search’ in The Sage handbook of global policing (Sage 2016).
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. whether the police officers can justify the use of the powers with the reasonable suspicion test.

    First, to understand the reasons why the police can use the power of stop and search, the purpose of the stop and search powers is provided in PACE 1984 to enable officers to test certain suspicions about certain suspected individuals and has to be exercised on certain reasonable grounds as provided in PACE 1984. Under the PACE 1984, reasonable suspicion is based on the ‘objective’ ‘facts, information or intelligence’ that the police may have with regard to an individual’s involvement in crime (PACE 1984, Code of Practice A). The concept of reasonable suspicion is also a constraint on the power of the police because the police cannot stop and search people without such reasonable grounds. This is discussed below to see whether the powers exercised by the police were reasonable.

    The reasonable grounds that are allowed to the police for the stop and search powers include the suspicion that the individual is carrying illegal drugs, or weapons, or stolen property, or something else for commission of a crime. Furthermore, there is a requirement that the police officers should tell certain details to the person being searched before that person is to be searched. The police officers must inform the person their names and details of their police station, as well as what they expect to find. Furthermore, there is also a procedural requirement that the law under which the police officers are searching, is to be informed to the individuals.

    Now, to apply the above rules to the present situation, there are two questions that are to be answered: did the police officers have reasonable suspicion; and did the police officers abide by the procedural requirements. To answer the first question, there is reasonable ground for suspicion for the police officers to stop and search the client. There were thefts of car accessories in the neighbourhood and the police has suspicion that the client has stolen property or has some tools for carrying out the thefts in the neighbourhood. Therefore, there is clearly reasonable grounds for stop and search. With regard to the second question, the police officers have not followed the requirements of the procedure. The officers just approached the client and said: “Please open your bag sir, we would like to see what’s inside.” They did not tell him under which law they were searching him, what they expected to find with him, and also their details like name and police station. Therefore, there is vitiation of process or procedure and this means that the stop and search operation was not properly carried out by the police forces. The client can therefore challenge the legality of the stop and search process carried out with him under the provisions of PACE 1984.

    Question 2

    Part (i)

    There are three important concerns that are raised which need the solicitors to carry out relevant searches and inquiries. The first concern is that the property is located in the property that was at one point a chemical factory. The second concern is that there is a likelihood of a road being built through the bottom of the garden in the property. The third concern is that there is an obvious friction between the sellers of the property and the neighbours. These concerns need to be explored further with the help of relevant inquiries and searches.


  6. Ibid.
  7. The first concern is that the property to be bought is located within the property of an old chemical factory. This concern can be addressed with the help of an Environmental Search. An environmental search is a search that is carried out to find out any environmental risks that are associated with the property. In cases of chemical factory, there can be leaches of chemicals into the land around the property. This can be found with the help of an environmental search.

    The second concern is that there is a possibility of a public road being built that may go through the property’s garden. This concern can be addressed with the help of a Local Land Charges search. The buyers have reported that they have heard that the area round Foundry Gardens is being developed and this would also involve the building of a major road. A Local Land Charges search is undertaken by the solicitor or buyer to see if there are any road schemes that are being considered by the local authority. Such plans are public charges and are registered as such by the local authority under the relevant law, which is the Local Land Charges Act 1975.

    The third concern is that there is some obvious tension or friction between the seller and one of their neighbours. This raises the possibility of there being some past or present disputes with the neighbours. This can be addressed by the solicitor by raising an inquiry with the sellers. The solicitor of the buyer or the buyer can raise the inquiry with the seller and the seller is bound to provide any information that they have with respect to the disputes with any neighbours so far as these relate to the property itself.

    Therefore, the three things that are to be done by the solicitor are to carry out environmental search, Local Land Charges search, and raise inquiry on disputes with the neighbours. These will address the three concerns raised in the situation.

    Part (ii)

    There are certain steps that are to be taken by the solicitor between the exchange of contracts and completion, which are discussed here. The timeframe between exchange of contracts and completion is generally between one to four weeks. In this time, the steps that are to be taken are discussed. The important fact is that the completion date is to be written in the contract at the time of exchange of contract. The important steps to be taken by the time of the completion include the payment of the purchase price minus the deposit and the transfer deed. The transfer deed is to be created as per the Form TR1. The payment of the purchase price may also require the mortgage being finalised and for this a mortgage deed is to be completed. What happens on the completion date is that the transfer deed is used to transfer the legal estate from the seller to the buyer and the purchase price is paid in full by the buyer.

    Part (iii)

    This situation requires the application of the intestacy law of inheritance as well as the law of survivorship to assess how the estate of the husband of the client is to be distributed amongst the client and the children of the deceased. This is discussed in


  8. April Stroud, Making sense of land law (Macmillan International Higher Education 2013) 15.
  9. McMeekin v Long [2003] 29 EG 120.
  10. April Stroud, Making sense of land law (Macmillan International Higher Education 2013) 17.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. this section. The applicable law is contained in the Inheritance and Trustees' Power Act 2014 and the rule of survivorship.

    There are different constituents of the estate of the deceased. This includes the house purchased in the joint ownership with the client, the car belonging to the deceased and valuable Chinese pottery that the deceased bought in the travels with the client, bank savings of about £300,000, joint bank account savings with about £20,000, and a life insurance policy worth £90,000.

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    With respect to the house, the house is bought in joint ownership with the client and as per the rule of survivorship which provides that the interest of the deceased joint owner will vest in the joint owner. Accordingly, the interest of the deceased will not vest in the client and will not be inherited by the children. With respect to the car and the valuable Chinese pottery, these are personal chattels of the deceased and as per the Inheritance and Trustees' Power Act, these will vest in the client as the spouse of the deceased. With respect to the bank savings of about £300,000, this will be inherited by both the spouse and the children under the Inheritance and Trustees' Power Act. Accordingly, the first £270,000 and £15000 of the remaining estate will be inherited by the client and £15000 by the children. With respect to the life insurance policy, there is a clear trust for the children and as per the terms of the trust, this will be inherited by the children. With regard to the joint savings account, the general rule of survivorship is applicable according to which the funds in the joint account would now vest with the surviving joint account holder.

    To conclude this part, the deceased’s interest in the property will pass to the surviving joint owner as per the principle of survivorship. The car and the valuable Chinese pottery will pass to the client as personal chattels of the deceased. The savings money is to be distributed both among the client and the children but not in equal parts because the spouse takes a bigger share in this situation where the deceased dies intestate. The joint account funds are also to vest in the client as per the rule of survivorship. The life insurance policy vests in the children as per the trust.


  14. JA MacKenzie, Textbook on Land Law (16th Edition Oxford University Press 2016).
  15. Whitlock v. Moree (2017) UKPC 44.

Books

Bradford B and Ian Loader, ‘Police, crime and order: The case of stop and search’ in The Sage handbook of global policing (Sage 2016).

MacKenzie JA, Textbook on Land Law (16th Edition Oxford University Press 2016).

Stroud A, Making sense of land law (Macmillan International Higher Education 2013).

Vick RW and Claude Frederick Shoolbred, The Administration of Civil Justice in England and Wales (Elsevier 2014).

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