Court of Appeal considers Denton and applications to extend time to file an appellant’s notice

This is the first Court of Appeal decision since Denton v TH White (see Weekly Update 26/14) to  consider an application for relief from sanctions. The appellants filed their appellants’ notices  six weeks late and the respondents applied to set aside the grant by the Court of Appeal of  permission to appeal. Reference was made to the earlier Court of Appeal decision in Sayers v Clarke  Walker [2002]  and dictum that the court must have regard to the criteria asset out in CPR r3.9  when considering such an extension (on the basis that if the court is unwilling to grant relief  from failure to comply through an extension of time, the consequence will be that the order of the  lower court will stand and cannot be appealed): “Even though this may not be a sanction expressly “imposed” by the rule, the consequence will be exactly the same as if  it had been,  and it would be far better for courts to follow the check-list contained in CPR 3.9  on this occasion, too”.

In this case, the Court of Appeal held that it would not  be appropriate, in the absence of full  argument on the point, to decide whether the new approach to relief from sanctions set out in  Denton is properly to be regarded as relevant to an extension of time in these circumstances.  However, the desire to discourage satellite litigation of all kinds was noted and it was also held  that the delay here had been justified because the order being appealed had been complex.