Jackson in Action - case law
In our regular monthly round up of cases we look at the effects of the changes to the Civil Procedure Rules under the Jackson Reforms and in particular the impact on relief from sanction applications as a result of changes to CPR r.3.9.
Relief from sanctions/application before expiry of deadline: In Kaneria v Kaneria (2014) the High Court concluded that the Mitchell principles did not apply to an extension of time application made before the date for compliance has passed. In what is likely to be an influential decision, the court ruled instead that the application should be judged against the overriding objective and not under CPR r.3.9. The lack of prejudice to the opposing party could still be a relevant factor when deciding such an application.
Relief from sanctions/failure to comply with unless order: In Medical Supplies & Services International Ltd v ACIES Engineering Ltd & Anor (2014) a company's claim in the Mercantile Court against its former director and his newly formed company for breach of a duty not to use confidential information was struck out following a failure to comply with an unless order relating to disclosure. Relief from sanctions would not be granted as the claimant’s failure to comply was not trivial and there was no good reason for failing to comply.
Relief from sanctions/supplementary witness evidence: In Canning v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (2014) an application to the High Court for permission to rely on a supplementary witness statement made after the deadline for exchange of evidence had passed, was regarded as an application for relief from sanctions and was refused. In an extempore judgment, Judge David Mitchell held that the application had been made extremely late, there was inconsistency with the original witness statement and allowing the application would have unnecessarily delayed the proceedings.
Relief from sanctions regime/setting aside an order made without a hearing: In Haley v Siddiqui Judge Hodge QC, sitting in the High Court, allowed an appeal not to grant the claimant relief from sanctions, where the claim had been struck out for non-compliance with an order requiring the parties to notify the court of the outcome of negotiations. The strike out order was made without a hearing and at the court's own initiative under CPR 3.4(2)(c).
Relief from sanctions/failure to serve witness evidence: In Chartwell Estate Agents Ltd v Fergies Properties SA & Anor (2014) the Court of Appeal for the first time upheld an appeal granting relief from sanctions. A judge had been entitled to grant a claimant relief from sanctions for failing to serve witness statements within the specified time where both parties had been in default and refusal of relief would have had the disproportionately severe consequence of effectively ending the claim. Read Simon Denyer’s analysis of the case here
Relief from sanctions/no requirement to file costs budgets in Part 8 claims: In Kershaw v Roberts & Anor (2014), Justice Hickinbottom sitting in the Chancery Division held that the first hearing in a Part 8 claim was not a case management conference, there was no requirement to file costs budgets and so CPR r.3.14 did not apply. The provisions of Part 29 concerning case management conferences would only apply to a Part 8 claim once allocated to the multi-track by the court. There was no obligation upon the defendant to file a costs budget until that point.
Relief from sanctions/failure to file costs budget on time: In Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies & Ors (2014) the High Court concluded that a District Judge had been entitled to take the view that the combination of two trivial breaches of the same order, and the lack of any explanation for either of them, was sufficient to refuse to grant relief from sanction. The costs budget had been filed 45 minutes late and in contravention of CPR r.3.13 but the claimant had also failed to notify the court of the outcome of negotiations between the parties. Relief from sanctions was refused and the claimant’s budget was limited to recovery of court fees only.
Relief from sanctions/failure to file costs budgets on time: In Wain v Gloucestershire County Council (2014) the filing of a costs budget one day late was properly analysed as a trivial breach according to the High Court and it was right for the oral application for relief from sanctions to be granted. The deadline had been narrowly missed and the failure was insignificant. There was no prejudice to the parties and the court timetable was not disrupted.
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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.