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When it comes to withdrawing pre-accident admissions, has rule 14.1A made any difference? Catherine Leech and Jennifer Maloney report

11 April 2011

The Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier High Court decision giving permission for defendants to withdraw a pre-action admission of liability – because they changed their mind. This is the first reported case since the change to CPR rule 14.1.A.

In Woodland v STA [2011] EWCA Civ 266 last month the Court of Appeal upheld a decision to allow a defendant to personal injury litigation to withdraw a pre-action admission of liability. The defendant gave neither explanation nor justification for altering its stance on liability, nearly two years after the admission was first made.

The case will cause concern for claimants conducting personal litigation in reliance on an early liability concession. Does the decision mean defendants can whimsically admit liability and later drop the bombshell that they have changed their minds? Is the court failing to protect pre-action admissions?

The Court of Appeal decisio...

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