Pre-action Admissions | Can They Be Withdrawn?

Pre-action Admissions | Can They Be Withdrawn?

A pre-action admission in a civil dispute arises where one party admits the whole or any part of another party’s case before commencement of proceedings. However, it frequently occurs that the party making the admission subsequently seeks to resile from it.

Once proceedings have been commenced, a party benefiting from a pre-action admission may seek to enter Judgment for such part of the case as is admitted, and accordingly, the party having made the admission, but wishing to withdraw it, will be anxious for them to successfully do so.

The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2023 (the ‘CPR 2023’) regulate the position.

Whilst pre-action admissions can be withdrawn, the process, in the absence of consent from the party benefiting, can be lengthy and uncertain given that the requirements of the CPR 2023 will have to be satisfied.

Stuart Southall of KANGS outlines the requirements of the CPR 2023.

Pre-action Admission | The Position Prior to 2023

Prior to the CPR 2023, a pre-action admission could only be used as evidence to support a claim after the Claimant had commenced action by serving a Letter Before Claim, a Claim Form and/or Particulars of Claim.

The party benefiting from any such pre-action admission would need to apply to the court for permission to rely on it.

If the party who had made the admission wished to withdraw it, an application to the court was necessary showing that the withdrawal:

  • would amount to an abuse of process,
  • was likely to obstruct the just disposal of the case.


Admissions made before commencement of proceedings.

Rule 14.1 states:

(1) A person may, by notice in writing—

(a) admit the whole or any part of another party’s case before commencement of proceedings (a “pre-action admission”).

(b) withdraw a pre-action admission before commencement of proceedings if the person to whom the admission was made agrees.

(2) After commencement of proceedings-

(a) any party may apply to the court for judgment on the pre-action admission; and

(b) the maker of the pre-action admission may apply to the court for permission to withdraw it.’

Application for permission to withdraw admission.

Rule 14.5 states:

‘In deciding whether to give permission for an admission to be withdrawn, the court shall consider all the circumstances of the case, including—

(a) the grounds for seeking to withdraw the admission;

(b) whether there is new evidence that was not available when the admission was made;

(c) the conduct of the parties;

(d) any prejudice to any person if the admission is withdrawn or not permitted to be withdrawn;

(e) what stage the proceedings have reached; in particular, whether a date or period has been fixed for the trial;

(f) the prospects of success of the claim or of the part of it to which the admission relates; and

(g) the interests of the administration of justice.’

Consequences of a Pre-action Admission Which Is Not Withdrawn

Where a pre-action admission has not been withdrawn, the party whose case the admission supports, is able to apply to the Court for Judgment for such amount of the claim admitted. The Claimant may elect to continue the proceedings for such amount as is disputed.

Rule 14.4 states:

(1) Where a party applies for judgment on an admission, the court shall give such judgment as it considers the applicant is entitled to.

(2) If the claim is not admitted in full, the claimant may give written notice that the claim is to continue in relation to the balance not admitted to be due.

(3) The court shall give appropriate directions for determination of any outstanding issues.

Accordingly, failing to apply to the Court seeking the withdrawal of a pre-action admission will almost certainly attract an Application for Judgment by the Claimant for the whole claim, or the amount admitted.

In such event, the maker of the admission would need to immediately apply to the Court to withdraw the admission and, at the time of considering such Application and the Application for Judgment, the Court would have to consider the requirements of Rule 14.5 above.

A party who allows Judgment to be entered in default, but thereafter decides to seek to set it aside and obtain permission to withdraw the pre-action admission is, in the absence of any procedural defaults, more likely than not going to fail. Amongst other requirements, the Court is quite likely to require the payment of the amount due into court before considering any Application.

How Can We Help?

It is never advisable to make any form of admission or use words or phrases which may be interpretated as an admission in any situation in civil disputes and civil proceedings, without experienced guidance.

Certainly, well considered and accurately presented admissions have a benefit in appropriate circumstances and may lead to a satisfactory resolution to the dispute being faced in an efficient, amicable, and cost-effective manner.

The Team at KANGS is accustomed to advising and guiding clients through disputes of every conceivable nature and identifying and pursuing satisfactory outcomes which may have seemed beyond reach.

Our Team would be delighted to assist you, we welcome enquiries by:

Tel:       0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. Alternatively, discussions can be held through live conferencing or telephone.

Tim Thompson

Tim Thompson

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Nazaqat Maqsoom

Naz Maqsoom

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