I'm an onlooker in a substantial case in the UK, which has an interesting feature. Legal advice hasn't been sought (but will be), but in the meantime as an onlooker I'm curious about one aspect of the claim, and how it would usually be handled.
The case is in High Court rather than County Court limits (professional negligence > £50k). The case is almost entirely about D1's work, but for one part of the work (about 15% of the case), D1 recommended a second opinion, which was obtained from D2.
D1's work was undoubtedly negligent, but it's not clear whether or not D2's work was also negligent, and (if it was) whether in fact it made any difference to the damage in law. (Maybe D1's work tainted D2's work and was the primary work relied on; alternatively the court might rule that D2's work was the main work relied on.)
My curiosity is raised about D2's position as a possible party, because of the pros and cons:
- If D2 isn't a party, D1 can deflect concerns, requiring a second case on the same facts, and in a separate case D2 might re-deflect the matter back onto D1 which can't be claimed as that case is closed.
- If D2 is a party, they will incur costs. If the eventual ruling finds D1 fully liable, then D2's costs will be bourne by the claimant under UK law, and they will be high because of the court.
Do UK court rules contain a way to notify a court in the claim, that a second party may exist and might need to be joined later if applicable, but not immediately have them as a party, for a specific aspect of the case where they are involved?
That would seem the obvious solution, but I am curious to find out the detail, such as how such a situation is usually handled in an initial claim, and how courts deal with it. (As a non-party onlooker I won't get to hear this from their solicitor)