In Fitzpatrick Contractors Ltd v Tyco Fire Integrated Solutions (UK) Ltd - Lawtel 22.9.08 the applicant applied to adjourn the date set for trial in proceedings between it and the respondent. The trial date was set for 10-and-a-half months later.
The TCC held that it was not possible for the instant case to be ready for a proper and effective trial in accordance with the overriding objective under CPR r.1.1(2) on the date initially set for trial. The timetable of 10-and-a-half months commenced with the service of a reply to the amended defence and amended counterclaim. In light of the outcome of the preliminary issues, the instant court would have to order the service of a reply to the re-amended defence and re-amended counterclaim, and therefore all of the original steps required still had to be taken. That meant endeavouring to do 10-and-a-half months' work in considerably less time. It was clear that the parties would have trouble meeting such a timetable. In addition, the expert witnesses identified possible difficulties and the inevitability of abortive work based on the tight timetable proposed. With regard to the nature of the case, the experts' joint statement was extremely important, and the fact that such a statement would not be comprehensive demonstrated that it would not be possible to meet the timetable in a way that did justice between the parties. There were major difficulties with preparing witness statements in time and there were also issues in trying to fit into a short period of time a large number of important preparatory steps. The trial was adjourned to be heard on a later date.