Pennecon v. The "Jean Raymond"

In Admiralty Practice, Delay and Time Extensions on (Updated )

This was a motion to dismiss a claim for want of prosecution. The claim had been filed in August, 1985. The Statement of Defence was not filed until November 1, 1989. On November 15, 1991, the Plaintiff filed a Notice of Intention to Proceed but no steps were taken. Various minor notices were sent over the next 4 years. In July, 1995, the Plaintiff filed a further Notice of Intent to Proceed and the Defendant responded with the motion for dismissal. The Court held that the appropriate test in a motion to dismiss for want of prosecution is that there has been inordinate delay, that the delay is not excusable, and that the delay is likely to cause serious prejudice to the Defendant. The Court held this test had been met and allowed the motion. On the key question of prejudice, the Defendant led affidavit evidence establishing that during the ten year delay it had lost contact with two important witnesses.