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Key Point

Unreasonable to remove a claim from the Portal for a small Credit Hire dispute

Phillips v Willis

[2016] EWCA Civ 401

This claim went through the MOJ Portal where some heads of loss were agreed in Stage 2, but not all.  Only credit hire remained when the matter went to Stage 3. Despite the sum in dispute being less than £500, and the dispute over that sum being very narrow, the judge of his own volition ordered the claim out of the Portal with a long list of disproportionate directions which would have cost vastly more than was reasonable for the sum in dispute and nature of the dispute between the parties.  The Claimant appealed and it was upheld at first tier appeal. However, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision, noting that the decision to remove the case from the Portal was irrational in that case.

Clearly, it was unnecessary and unreasonable in this case to remove the matter from the Portal, especially where neither party wanted this, and especially with the extensive directions given which were completely disproportionate.  This is not to say it would be unreasonable and irrational in all circumstances, but it would appear that this is not expected to be routine.

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