Vos L.J said,
22. Returning to the early stages of proceedings, it is, of course, always open to the court to strike out or grant summary judgment in respect of the impugned part of the claim, as opposed to the whole. In my judgment, the court should exercise caution in the early stages of a case in striking out the entirety of a claim on the grounds that a part has been improperly or even fraudulently exaggerated. That is because of the draconian effect of so doing and the risk that, at a trial, events may appear less clear cut than they do at an interlocutory stage. The court is not easily affronted, and in my judgment the emphasis should be on the availability of fair trial of the issues between the parties. As CPR r 3.4(2)(b) itself says,
“the court may strike out a statement of case if … the statement of case is an abuse of the court’s process or is otherwise likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings ” (emphasis added).
23. There is an analogy with the court’s approach in Denton v TH White Ltd (De Laval Ltd, Part 20 defendant) (Practice Note)  1 WLR 3926, where the court considered the circumstances in which relief from sanctions should be granted under the new CPR r 3.9.
That rule says that the court
“will consider all the circumstances of the case, so as to enable it to deal justly with the application, including the need—
(a) for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate cost; and
(b) to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and orders” (“factors (a) and (b)”).
The first two stages recommended by the court require the court to consider the seriousness or significance of the breach and any explanation offered for it. Lord Dyson MR and I said this in relation to the third stage of the process, at para 32:
“Although the two factors may not be of paramount importance, we reassert that they are of particular importance and should be given particular weight at the third stage when all the circumstances of the case are considered. That is why they were singled out for mention in the rule. It is striking that factor (a) is in substance included in the definition of the overriding objective in rule 1.1(2) of enabling the court to deal with cases justly; and factor (b) is included in the definition of the overriding objective in identical language at rule 1.1(2)(f) . If it had been intended that factors (a) and (b) were to be given no particular weight, they would not have been mentioned in rule 3.9(1) . In our view, the draftsman of rule 3.9(1) clearly intended to emphasise the particular importance of these two factors.”
24. The cases I have mentioned were right to emphasise in the context of striking out what is effectively factor (a), namely the need for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate cost.
The need for compliance with rules and orders is equally important.
But it must be remembered that the remedy should be proportionate to the abuse.
In the context of this case, it is also worth emphasising before I turn to the particular circumstances that litigants should not be deprived of their claims unless the abuse relied on has been clearly established. The court cannot be affronted if the case has not been satisfactorily proved.
This aspect is obviously inter-related with whether or not a fair trial remains possible. Moreover, the fact that solicitors have signed bills that appear to be inaccurate or worse is obviously a matter for concern, but that concern does not abrogate the need for the issue of whether the bills were indeed inaccurate to be fairly resolved between the parties, if that remains possible.
[Formatted for ease of reading].