What are interim applications?

An interim application is an application made between the start of the proceedings and the trial itself. It is an application to the court for orders or directions. These interim applications are governed by Civil Procedure Rules. There can be a variety of circumstances when it is necessary to make an interim application to the court. These include an application for:

  • extension of time;
  • summary judgment;
  • interim payment;
  • an injunction
  • security for costs;
  • amendments of case.

Application for the extension of time

The application for the extension of time can take place at any time in the proceedings if one party needs more time to meet some important deadline (eg, filing a required document).

Application for a summary judgment

Application for a summary judgment takes place if the claimant/ defendant believes the other party has no real case and cannot prove/ defend the claim against him.

Application for an injunction

An injunction is an order of the court which stops one party doing something (prohibitory) or makes them do something (mandatory). This could include ordering a party to comply with an important deadline or ordering them to stop publishing a certain article.

Application for security of costs

Where a defendant is confident s/he will be able to defend a claim but is worried the claimant won’t can’t pay the costs awarded against him/ her, the defendant can apply for an order that the claimant provide security for the costs it may become liable to pay. A security for costs application can also be applied for by the claimant against the defendant in respect of any counterclaim.

Amendment of the statement of the case

If any of the parties wish to amend their statement of case, an application to the court also has to be made again.

Making an interim application

The notice must be served on the other party. A ‘without notice’ application (ie, an application made without giving the other party notice) is allowed in exceptional circumstances with the permission of the court, or if Civil Procedure Rules permit it. If the application notice is served, both parties must be heard and give evidence. The hearings may be public or private if it is in the interest of justice. The court can make interim orders or fix telephone hearings or video conferencing to fulfill the overriding objective. Generally these applications are heard at case management conference or at the pre-trial review.

What should the application contain?

The application notice should state what order the applicant is seeking and why is he seeking it. Under the Civil Procedure Rules it should also contain the title and reference number of the claim, the name of the applicant, and state whether a hearing is requested. Most applications take place at a hearing, but there may not be a hearing if the parties agree the terms of the order, the parties agree that no such order is necessary, or the court thinks such a hearing is not necessary.

The application must be accompanied with the written evidence explaining the facts supporting the application. These interim applications are normally heard by a district judge, a master, or a judge. Hearings are in public or at chambers. Your solicitor should produce the following documents at the hearing: the application notice; the witness statements and exhibits; the draft order; the bundle of statements of case; or anything you want to rely on at trial. The court can intervene at any time and give further directions.

Cost orders

The court also has to consider who will pay for the cost of the proceedings. Under the Civil Procedure Rules, the court can decide what each party will pay and when it is payable. In assessing costs, the court must take into account the conduct of the parties.

Article written by...
Nicola Laver LLB
Nicola Laver LLB

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A non-practising solicitor, Nicola is also a fully qualified journalist. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a legal journalist, editor and author.