Discontinuing Court Proceedings

What if  you have started a claim and then you decide you do not want to pursue it any further.

If you have started a claim and want to end it, you have to send to the court and the other side, a form called a “notice of discontinuance” (form N279).

It is a straight forward form to complete and once sent to the court, it will be put before a Judge to approve.

Generally, Judges will approve this unless there is good reason not to. As well as sending it to the court, you should send it to the Defendant.

NOTE , if you are going to discontinue you should be careful when you do so, or there may be cost consequences. Judges have a very wide discretion as what to order about costs.

There is a risk a claimant takes if discontinuing and the timing of the discontinuance is important.

The Court Rules On Discontinuance And Legal Costs

The rules relating to discontinuance are found in the Civil Procedure Rules. It is worthwhile taking the time to read the relevant rules:

Rule 38.6 (1) states “Unless the court orders otherwise, a claimant who discontinues is liable for the costs which a defendant against whom the claimant discontinues incurred on or before the date on which notice of discontinuance was served on the defendant”

This means that if you discontinue you are automatically liable to pay the other side’s legal costs incurred, up to the point of service of the notice.

Rule 38.6(4) adds that the rule above does not apply to claims allocated to the small claims track.

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