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/service of witness statements: In Murray v BAE (2016) a Claimant who had failed to file their costs budget on time, filing it seven days late, was granted relief from sanctions. Hearing the Claimant’s appeal of the District Judge’s refusal to grant relief, HHJ Gregory sitting in Liverpool County Court, allowed the appeal and granted relief from the sanction under CPR r.3.14. The Claimant’s solicitors had blamed a change of fee earner and an inability to diarise court dates as an explanation for the failure to file the budget on time. The Judge concluded that the District Judge was wrong to categorise the Claimant’s breach as “serious or significant” (stage 1 of the three stage test in Denton) and that, in any event, the mistake was an isolated one and due to a “breakdown in communication”. 22/12/15 (but only recently reported)

In the following case, whilst not a relief from sanctions application per se, the court nevertheless had regard to the test in Denton:

Default judgment/failure to file acknowledgment of service: In Albesher v Ryan & Ors (2016) the court set aside a default judgment, where a defendant had failed to file an acknowledgment of service, a failure categorised by Walker J as being significant and serious. Whilst the Judge concluded that there was not a good reason for the default, it was not deliberate and the defendant had not received any warning that an action was being raised. Finally, the delay and wasted expense counted against the defendant, but they had demonstrated that they had an arguable defence and delay did not add significantly to the time it would take to try the claims. 15/3/16

Costs budgeting/costs management order: In Group Seven Ltd & Ors v Notable Services LLP & Ors the court made costs management orders in fraud claims, made against the defendants. A costs management order under CPR r.3.15 was necessary as the party’s budgets totalled £5m and were not proportionate to the claim of £7m. The issues were not sophisticated and the case was not complex. The court approved budgets with contained revised hourly rates and revised down the sums claimed for counsel. The parties were asked to provide revised budgets in respect of their future claimed costs within 14 days. 21/3/16