Beatson LJ has granted a renewed application for permission to appeal an order dismissing the applicant’s appeal of a summary judgment made in his absence.

The judgment is of particular interest for its consideration of the criteria for satisfying the court (for the purposes of CPR 39.3(5)) that a claimant had “a good reason” for not attending trial, and how this should be approached in the context of litigants in person.

Beatson LJ referred to Levy v Ellis-Carr [2012] EWHC 63 (Ch) where Norris J stated (at paragraph 36) that the medical evidence required to demonstrate that a party is unable to attend a hearing and participate in a trial “should identify with particularity what the patient’s medical condition is”, explain why it prevents participation in the trial process, provide a reasoned prognosis and give the court some confidence that what is expressed is “an independent opinion after a proper examination”.

Beatson LJ noted that the decision appealed had been decided based on the second requirement in CPR 39.3(5). The judge below concluded that the required evidence that the party was unable to attend a hearing and participate in the trial was “simply not before the court”.

Beatson LJ recognised that the applicant’s conduct was open to criticism, as his medical condition (a knee problem) had existed at the time of the listing appointment, and when the trial date was fixed, and his application for an adjournment had been made over a month later. However, he saw “force” in a submission that the applicant faced particular difficulties as a litigant in person. The judge considered that it was arguable that the requirements in Levy, a case that did not concern a litigant in person, which appeared to require “something akin to a full medical report” did not “reflect the realities of what can be obtained from busy GPs”. This raised a sufficiently important point of principle for a second appeal to be heard.

Case: Emojevbe v Secretary of State for Transport [2016] EWCA Civ 1165 (12 May 2016) (Casetrack). (This judgment has only recently become available.)