The judicial Zeitgeist towards delay on the part of claimants has undergone a radical shift in England in recent years. In the not too distant past, delay in prosecuting an action, no matter how inordinate and inexcusable, was not grounds for dismissal unless the delay prejudiced the defendant. Furthermore, where the limitation period was still extant, a f3i.lure to comply with procedural time limits set by the court would not result in dismissal as this would merely aggravate the delay, as claimants, save in exceptional cases, could simply bring fresh proceedings. However, in light of bourgeoning courts lists, the courts gradually retreated from this relaxed attitude toWards dilatoriness. The turning point is often regarded as the decision of the House of Lords in Grovit v Doctor. In this case, Lord Woolf, with whom the other law lords agreed, held that the court may strike out proceedings as an abuse of process if the claimant has no intention of bringing the proceedings to a conclusion. Importantly, Lord Woolf indicated that delay itself is evidence of.the absence of such an intention.
ANZSRC / FoR Code