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:
Relief from sanctions/failure to serve expert evidence: In Elliott v Stobart Group Ltd & Ors (2015) the Court of Appeal held that a litigant in person should be refused relief from sanctions after he had failed to comply with an order for service of expert evidence. Accepting that striking out the claim was a “draconian step”, the court held that being unable to pay for legal representation could not be regarded as a good reason for delay, nor was it a good reason for failing to comply with the Civil Procedure Rules or court orders. The litigant in person had “ignored the requirements imposed upon him” by the order.
Relief from sanctions/late service of evidence: In Patel v Mousa (2015) the Court of Appeal held that the decision to dismiss an application for permission to appeal was not a decision on the merits of the appeal, but was instead the application of a sanction for failure to comply with the court’s reasonable case-management directions. The judge had correctly applied the principles in Mitchell of the need for a rigorous compliance with the court’s directions, in order to ensure a more orderly efficient approach to litigation. Held, the judge was entitled to regard the failures to comply as far from trivial and no good reason was advanced for the failure to comply.
Relief from sanctions/failure to serve re-pleaded counterclaim: In Cockell (t/a Cockell Building Services) v Holton (2015) Edwards-Stuart J refused relief from sanctions where the defendant had failed to comply with an unless order and re-plead his counterclaim. Applying the test in Denton, it was held that the counterclaim was not sufficiently particularised so that it complied with the order. There was no good reason for the failure to comply and the defendant would not be able to pursue the counterclaim, however, the defendant was permitted to use his counterclaim as a defence to the claimant's claim.
Relief from sanctions/failure to provide further information: In The Matter of Bankside Hotels Ltd & Ors v Gourgey & Ors (2015) where relief from sanctions had previously been granted, Simon J held that it was not appropriate to grant further relief where a party had failed to properly answer a request for further information under Part 18 and as a consequence, had failed to properly comply with the requirement for a “full and complete response to each and every request”. As a result of the non-compliance, points from the Defence would be struck out.
Relief from sanctions/late service of witness statement: In Buswell v Symes & Anor (2015) sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division, Judge Robinson held that, applying the test in Denton, relief from sanctions would be refused to a party seeking to rely upon witness evidence served ahead of a trial. Held that the witness evidence should have been identified earlier, and not served four weeks before the trial was about to begin and not six months after the order for service of witness evidence. The breach was serious and had arisen because the issues in the case had not been investigated with reasonable promptness. To allow the evidence would disadvantage the claimant so close to trial. NOTE: primary liability was established against the first defendant at a trial on liability on 15 May, with a two thirds reduction against the claimant for contributory negligence.
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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.