Miles v ITV Networks Ltd & Another
Reference:  EWHC 3134 (Ch)
Court: Chancery Division
Judge: Laddie J
Date of judgment: 8 Dec 2003
Summary: Intellectual Property - Copyright - Infringement - Inference of copying - Breach of Confidence - CPR Part 24 - Summary Judgment - Mini-trial
Instructing Solicitors: David Price & Co for the Claimant; Goodman Derrick for the first Defendant; Davenport Lyons for the second Defendant
The Claimant had brought an action claiming breach of copyright and breach of confidence. The Defendant had successfully applied to the Master to have the claim dismissed under CPR Part 24. On appeal, the Claimant contended that the Master had engaged in a “mini-trial” contrary to principles to be applied on summary judgment applications.
(1) Principles to be applied on summary judgment application
(2) Whether summary judgment had been correctly granted
Dismissing the appeal: (1) As a general rule, the Court should not attempt to conduct a “mini-trial” on a summary judgment application. However, in order to adjudicate on any such application the Court did need to understand the facts in issue in the case. The Claimant’s case was based on inference and was weak. Balanced against the primary evidence filed by the Defendant, which was compelling, the Claimant had no real prospect of success.
(2) Summary judgment had been correctly granted to the Defendants.
Parties facing summary judgment applications occasionally attempt to load the application with a mass of evidence in the hope that the apparent dispute of fact will entitle them to proceed when the Court refuses to conduct a mini-trial. This judgment shows that the Court will analyse the real issues involved. If, on the fundamental facts, a party has no prospect of success summary judgment can be granted.