Global Substitution Orders: ‘A Valuable Procedural Expedient’

Mon, 21 Oct 2019

Emma Williams examines the usefulness of the little known global substitution order

When considering an application under the Civil Procedure Rules, one is usually overwhelmed by the commentary available. Rather than searching for sources, there is often a range of material to choose from. Not so, in the context of applications for global substitution orders (GSOs).

The dearth of commentary is strange because GSOs are a procedural expedient. One way of looking at them, would be to describe them as multiple applications under r 19.4. Where we are used to making applications under r 19.4 to substitute a party, GSOs allow a party to be substituted, simultaneously, in multiple sets of proceedings by virtue of a sole application.

Therefore, GSOs are an invaluable tool where, say, there is a bulk merger or acquisition. Rather than makings hundreds, even thousands, of separate applications in the County Court, GSOs allow a single application to substitute a party in numerous proceedings. The advantages are obvious – GSOs save great expense, time, court resources and prevent the sort of inconsistencies that may arise when numerous applications for, essentially the same remedy, are before the court.

There are two reported cases on GSOs. The first is Hoist Portfolio Holding 2 Ltd v Various [2018] EWHC 3113 (Ch) and the second is Madison CF UK v Various [2018] EWHC 2786 (Ch). The procedural requirements of GSOs make it a streamlined process. Usually there is no need to serve all the respondents prior to an application for a GSO. As in Hoist Portfolio Holding 2 Ltd, at paragraph 17, Mr Justice Hildyard considered:

‘Then the question arises as to what notice should be given, or service effected, in respect of the application and the order which I am prepared to make. Ordinarily, applications for GSOs are not required to be notified to all and sundry if the court so directs, and I am proposing to adopt that by analogy. Conversely, the ordinary provision in a GSO is for the GSO to be served on all those debtors and defendants to claims which it covers.’

Given the lack of notice, it appears that one result may be an onus on the Applicant to be frank. In Hoist Portfolio Holding 2 Ltd, Mr Justice Hildyard became concerned given the inaccuracies that he had identified in the applicant’s case. As Mr Justice Hildyard went on, at paragraph 21, to say:

‘Lastly, I wish to say this more generally. Applications for a GSO are a valuable procedural expedient to avoid numerous, potentially very numerous, applications in various County Court locations. But in making them, the court is wholly reliant on a proper and entirely accurate representation of the true state of things…’

Whilst applicants need to tread carefully, the GSO is a rare, but extremely useful, creature.

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