It can be extremely frustrating for clients and their representatives when a party litigant acts in such a manner that the litigation inevitably becomes more protracted and costly.
Partly litigants are, rightly, given a little more leeway when litigating. However, they do still require to act in accordance with the rules of court. Balance is required so that they are not permitted to frustrate the court process.
A recent case where a party litigant attempted to frustrate our client, a registered social landlord, in its attempts to reclaim an empty property gives one example of how the courts may deal with aspects of such cases – in particular the treatment of medical evidence which purports to excuse a defender from appearing in court.
You can read more about this case here.
Interesting parallels with our case in relation to the treatment of a medical certificate produced by a party litigant arose in another recent appeal case, McCallion v Apache North Sea Ltd  SAC (Civ) 1.
The reported decision outlined the approach that ought to be taken by the court when presented with a letter from a medical practitioner. Such a letter need not be on “soul and conscience”, but must be suitably specific regarding the condition itself and what makes the person unfit to attend court. The court should also place the medical certificate in the wider context of the litigation, such as if it appears that one party is bound to succeed.
Agents should be vigilant when it appears that a party is attempting to draw out an action for no good reason and draw this to the court's attention at the earliest possible opportunity.