Another fine mess — Mitchell, CPR 3.10 and the service rules

By Miranda Whiteley

In Integral Petroleum SA v SCC-Finanz AG, late service of particulars of claim to an email address not authorised for service was treated as valid under CPR 3.10 for the purpose of starting time running for the service of a defence. This appears to bypass the effect of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers in one easy step and therefore demands close scrutiny. We look at the role of CPR 3.10 post Mitchell.

In the aftermath of Mitchell and its harsh approach to failures to comply with court deadlines, this rule looks like a relic of a gentler age. It reads: ‘Where there has been an error of procedure such as a failure to comply with a rule or practice direction: (a) the error does not invalidate any step taken in the proceedings unless the court so orders; and (b) the court may make an order to remedy the error.’

In Steele v Mooney, the claimant had applied for an extension of time for service of the particulars of claim when he intended to refer to the claim form. This drafting error was held to be an error of procedure that could be remedied under CPR 3.10…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Mills & Reeve briefing.

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