We were recently instructed by a director of a small company who was being sued by his former employers for breach of non-solicitation and non-competition covenants. Our client had initially used an academic lawyer to assist but following judgment being entered for failure to comply with Court deadlines the lawyer was dismissed.

We reviewed the papers and drafted a defence along with an application to set aside judgment and presented the same to the claimant for their consent on the basis that judgment had been entered incorrectly, that there was good reason to set aside and good reason that the defendant ought to be allowed to defend the claim.  The claimant refused to consent and so the application was filed at Court.

Matters progressed with further requests to consent being rejected and the claimant filed and served a skeleton argument and chronology setting out reasons why the application should fail.  In response we prepared a skeleton expanding on the grounds previously set out.  It was filed and served with a costs schedule amounting to just over £850 (which included the costs of the hearing).

The day before the hearing and after considering our skeleton, the claimant opted to consent but on the basis they shouldn’t have to pay costs.  This was resisted and we pointed out the various invitations to consent which would have resulted in costs savings.  The claimant conceded the costs and agreed to pay £475 costs.   In addition, as one of the grounds of our application was that the Particulars of Claim were not compliant and failed to set out the claim, the claimant opted to discontinue the claim.

Given the lateness of the consent, our client attended the hearing alone armed with our advice and presented the consent order to the judge who approved it.  The judge also commented that he would have granted the application after reading our skeleton and defence and in addition would have struck out the claim due to lack of merit. 

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