Addleshaw Goddard

UK 200 2013 position: 23

Jackson live — one year on — summer 2014

One year after implementation of the Jackson reforms to civil procedure, six months after the confirmation by the Court of Appeal in Mitchell that the courts were to take very seriously the business of managing cases so as to ensure compliance with the Civil Procedure Rules and court orders, and with more than 50 subsequent reported decisions citing Mitchell, some key lessons have emerged from the management of cases by the courts.

Parties to litigation must take extremely seriously any time limits that either the courts or the rules set for taking steps in their cases. These are true deadlines. There has been some uncertainty about whether they can be extended by agreement with other parties. From 5 June this year, a new rule (CPR 3.8(4)) will make it clear that they may be extended by agreement for up to 28 days, provided that the extension doesn’t put at risk any hearing date.

If it is not possible to agree an extension of time, but compliance with a time limit appears unachievable, a party should apply to the court for an extension, giving detailed reasons for the application, in good time before the relevant deadline. Pressure of work alone may not constitute a good enough reason, but a party will be in a better position applying at that stage, before default, than once a breach has occurred (see Mitchell). Jackson LJ himself has recently confirmed that an application for an extension of time will not be subject to the same considerations as an application for relief from sanctions (Hallam v Baker)…

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