High Court Upholds Default Judgments in Pincus v Singh Case, Emphasizing Procedural Accuracy and Timeliness

Citation: [2023] EWHC 2997 (Ch)
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In the case of Pincus v Singh & Anor [2023] EWHC 2997 (Ch), the High Court of Justice deliberated upon an application to set aside two default judgments involving a property dispute. Specifically, the case addressed issues around compliance with court orders, the adequacy of remedies completed, and procedural correctness when requesting default judgments under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). This article analyzes the key topics and legal principles applied within the case, providing insight to legal professionals practicing in the UK.

Key Facts

The dispute involves the reinstatement of a concrete platform used for access between two adjacent properties owned by the claimant, Pincus, and the defendants, Singh and another party. The court previously granted an injunction mandating the defendants to reinstate the platform by a certain date. The claimants entered default judgments against the defendants for non-compliance, which the defendants applied to set aside on procedural grounds and their purported completion of the ordered reinstatement.

Default Judgments and Procedural Correctness

The procedure of default judgments under the CPR is fundamental to this case. Rule 12.4(1) and Rule 12.4(3) were examined. The Court scrutinized the procedural appropriateness of the claimant’s request for default judgment where remedies sought included injunctive relief, not solely monetary. The court drew upon Tugendhat J’s reasoning in Robins v Kordowski [2011] EWHC 1912 (QB), namely that parties are not necessarily taken to abandon claims for non-monetary relief when incorrectly applying for default judgment by request rather than by application, and that CPR Part 3.10 can be invoked to rectify procedural errors.

Real Prospect of Successfully Defending the Claim

CPR Rule 13.3(1)(a) establishes that a judgment may be set aside if the defendant has a real prospect of successfully defending the claim. The defendants argued that the reinstatement work was completed satisfactorily, a point contested by the claimant’s surveyor. The judge, HHJ Paul Matthews, considered whether the defendants had a real prospect of success on this basis and whether it fully addressed the claim-incurred losses.


CPR Rule 13.3(2) mandates consideration of whether a set aside application was made promptly. Previous case law indicates that delays of over 30 days could be deemed unprompt, with the High Court’s expectation for promptness evidenced by reference to Regency Rolls Limited v Carnall and Hart Investments v Fidler.


HHJ Paul Matthews rejected the defendants’ application. The defendants had not demonstrated a real prospect of successfully defending the claim; evidenced by ongoing criticisms of the quality of their reinstatement efforts and failure to comply with Mr. Justice Miles’s injunction. The three-month delay in applying to set aside the judgments was deemed not prompt. The absence of the defendants’ detailed defense or draft defense further diminished their standing.


The case of Pincus v Singh & Anor illustrates the importance of procedural accuracy, timeliness in addressing court orders, and satisfactory completion of court-mandated remedies. The refusal to set aside the default judgments emphasizes the court’s priority for adherence to the rules, and the overarching expectation that parties will act diligently in response to court orders. The significance of promptly setting out a comprehensive defense upon the entry of default judgments is underscored, reminding legal professionals of the necessity to properly approach and actively defend against claims.