High Court Decision Highlights Importance of Legal Representation and Procedural Diligence in Corporate Litigation

Citation: [2023] EWHC 3054 (Ch)
Judgment on


In the High Court of Justice case of Transomas Limited & Anor v Kheri Trading Limited & Anor [2023] EWHC 3054 (Ch), Mrs Justice Joanna Smith presided over a consequentials hearing following the dismissal of the action by the claimants, Transomas Limited and Transomas Investments Limited, against the defendants, Kheri Trading Limited and Tarnjit Singh Gill. The judgement offers an insightful examination of a UK court’s approach to issues such as the pursuit of legal representation, obligations of corporate litigants, adjournment applications, application for a stay, and imposition of costs orders against non-parties. This analysis will elucidate the court’s application of relevant legal principles to the specific facts of the case.

Key Facts

The claimants, unrepresented, chose not to attend the consequentials hearing. The court had previously dismissed the action at the onset of trial due to lack of substantive engagement from the claimants. The dismissal brought other proceedings, including costs considerations. Despite having been notified of the need to acquire legal representation and actively participate in the hearing, the claimants failed to make arrangements and instead sent emails indicating an intention to appeal the court’s decision and issues they faced with respect to their digital files.

The claimants later attempted to imply an automatic stay of proceedings due to the appeal and conveyed via email that they were too sick and exhausted to prepare for the hearing. Additionally, the defendants sought to join one of the claimants, Ms. Kaur, to the proceedings for a non-party costs order against her given her involvement in the claimants’ litigation strategy.

Representation and Litigation Preparation

The court emphasized that it had previously alerted the claimants to the importance of acquiring legal representation and that they had ample time to do so prior to the hearing. The court underscored that legal counsel could quickly become acquainted with the case’s background to respond to the defendants’ submissions. The principle that parties must be diligent in preparing for proceedings, as stipulated in the Civil Procedure Rules, was upheld.

Application for Adjournment

The court treated Ms. Kaur’s email communications as an application to adjourn the hearing. The court referenced CPR 3.1(2)(b) to assess the application’s merit. Nonetheless, the claimants provided no substantive reasons justifying representation absence or assurances of having counsel for a future date.

Application for a Stay of Proceedings

In line with CPR 52.16, which outlines that an appeal shall not automatically stay proceedings, the court expected the claimants to actively seek such a stay. The late submission of a stay request by Ms. Kaur, coupled with the lack of compelling reasons for a delay, led the court to proceed without her presence.

Non-Party Costs Orders

For determining the request to join Ms. Kaur as a party to seek a non-party costs order, the court alluded to CPR 46.2(1)(b) which necessitates a separate hearing. The court reasoned that, if joined, Ms. Kaur would have subsequent opportunity to contest the allegations against her.


The court, applying the overriding objective of dealing with cases justly and at proportionate cost as detailed in the Civil Procedure Rules, decided to continue with the consequentials hearing. Mrs Justice Joanna Smith highlighted that the administrative and procedural fairness due to all participants had been observed, and in the absence of credible reasons to adjourn or stay proceedings from the claimants, the court moved forward with the hearing.


Through Transomas Limited & Anor v Kheri Trading Limited & Anor, it’s evident the court applies established procedural principles with true regard to fairness and the overriding objective. In this instance, the court carefully considered the claimants’ (unrepresented parties) interests against procedural efficiency and fairness to both parties. The decision to proceed in the claimants’ absence underscores the courts’ expectations that parties engage actively and responsibly in the legal process and that the court’s time and resources are to be respected. The case serves as a significant precedent for the conduct of corporate litigants and consequences associated with a passive approach to litigation.