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Nemeti & Ors v Sabre Insurance Company Ltd [2012] EWHC 3355 (QB) - 23rd November 2012


A master had erred in allowing the claimants to substitute a new defendant outside of the limitation period because the substitution was unnecessary for the determination of the original flawed action.

The claimants were injured in a road traffic accident in which the driver of their vehicle died. They brought a claim directly against the insurer of the vehicle pursuant to the European Communities (Rights Against Insurers) Regulations 2002. The claimants later accepted that the action was flawed, and applied to substitute the deceased driver's estate after the expiry of limitation. The master allowed substitution on the basis that it was necessary for the determination of the claimant's original claim against the insurer.

The Judge held that the addition or substitution of parties pursuant to the Limitation Act 1980 s.35(6) and CPR 19.5(3)(b) had to be necessary to cure some defect in the original proceedings. The relevant question was whether or not the substitution was necessary for the maintenance of the original action, not for the assertion of a new action. The fact that a claimant may wish to pursue a different defendant was not enough to merit substitution outside the limitation period. To go that far would be to undermine the necessarily restrictive provisions of the Limitation Act 1980.