Admiralty — collision claim — application for order under O. 75 r. 18(10) that plaintiff file particulars of damages and that damages be assessed before trial on liability — to be made to Registrar, not judge — trial on liability to occur before assessment of damages unless cogent reasons for reversal of order — Rules of the High Court (Cap. 4A, Sub. Leg.) O. 75 r. 18(10)
P brought proceedings against D following a collision involving their ships. D applied to the Court for an order under O. 75 r. 18(10) of the Rules of the High Court (Cap. 4A, Sub.Leg.) (the “RHC”) that P file and serve on D particulars of the damages claimed and that damages be assessed prior to the trial on liability. Order 75 r. 18(11) provides that where an order is made under r. 18(10), the claim shall be treated as referred to the Registrar for assessment and rr. 41 and 42 shall apply unless the Registrar otherwise directs.
Held, dismissing the application, that:
• An application for the filing of particulars of damages and for assessment of damages under O. 75 r. 18(10) of the RHC shall be heard by the Registrar, even if it was made after the issue of a case management summons which shall be heard by a judge.
• The Court would follow the RHC as far as possible, with suitable flexibility if the circumstances of the case warranted it. For this reason alone, the application was defective.
• There was a more fundamental objection. It was long-established practice in collision actions for there to be a trial of liability first and then assessment of damages by the Registrar. The order would be reversed only for cogent reasons and none existed here.
• Further, O. 75 r. 18(10) and (11) went hand in hand. Given D’s concession that it was not seeking a reference to the Registrar for assessment of damages at this stage, there was no other legal basis to make an order under r. 18(10).