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 respondent’s notice: In Pipe v Spicehaart Estate Agents Ltd (2016) Sweeney J, sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division refused to grant relief from sanctions to a respondent who had filed their respondent’s notice 48 days out of time. This was a serious and significant breach, for which there was no good reason. Applying the three stage test set out in Denton, the Court noted that the respondent had delayed filing their skeleton argument and failed to engage with the appellant. The respondent’s conduct in this small claims track case, stopped the parties from conducting the litigation at proportionate cost and had been their second breach. They would not be permitted to rely upon their notice. 18/1/16

Relief from sanctions/service of witness statements: In Birch v Beccanor Ltd & Anor (2016), sitting in the Chancery Division, Norris J concluded that to refuse relief from sanctions in an application to extend the time for service of witness evidence, which had been deliberately served late, without good reason, would not prejudice the applicant, as the applicant was still able to call evidence to support its pleaded case. The Judge commented, “If CPR 3.9 and the particular emphasis it now contains has any meaning, in my judgment this is the sort of case to which it must apply”. The application was heard along with an application to vacate the trial and an application for leave to amend the defence to bring a counterclaim. The Judge also refused these applications.  4/2/16

The following are cases where the court had regard to the test in Mitchell and/or Denton, notwithstanding the fact that they were not applications for relief from sanctions per se:

Relief from sanctions regime/defence to counterclaim: In Joshi & Welch Ltd v Tay Foods (2015), Green J sitting in the Queen’s Bench Division, overturned a decision to refuse relief from sanctions in a case where the claimant had failed to file a defence to the defendant’s counterclaim, disagreeing with the Judge’s application of the test in Denton. The claimant had applied before judgment had been entered and at a time when an application under CPR r.3.9 was not technically needed. The breach had not caused any prejudice to the defendant and was wholly technical in nature. 2/12/15