The purpose of a Part 18 Request in the context of a personal injury or clinical negligence claim is to obtain key information from the other side so that a party can clarify a particular point which perhaps ought to be made clear previously. If a Part 18 Request is legitimate and is not replied to within a specified period of time (usually 14 days), then the requesting solicitor can make an application to the court to compel their opponents to comply with the Request. If a party is successful at court in their request, then the successful solicitor is likely to request their legal costs of making the application.
To make a Part 18 Request a solicitor needs to make clear the information that they are requesting and the reason why it is relevant to the claim or defence. Usually, a Part 18 Request is made in a separate document. Sometimes a solicitor will make the request in a letter. Only if a party ignores the initial Request or doesn’t comply in a reasonable time or disputes the legitimacy of the Request, will the solicitor then consider making an application to the court to enforce the Request.
The reason why a party usually makes a Part 18 Request is to obtain information from the opponent so that they may better comprehend the issues between the parties. A Part 18 Request is also a weapon used by litigators to put pressure on an opponent.
As the name suggests, further information regarding a Part 18 Request can be found in Part 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules available here.