Shepherd and Wedderburn

UK 200 2014 position: 68

Light relief — Denton v TH White

By Ben Pilbrow

Although a decade separated them, both Lord Woolf’s and Lord Jackson’s reports on civil litigation procedure highlighted the need for and recommended change. The reforms that followed both reports sought to address the spiralling waste of time, money and resources in civil litigation. Both judges recommended active case management by the judiciary as the cure. Both judges called for a change of culture among civil litigation practitioners to put an end to the lax observance of court rules. An important question that the courts have struggled to answer satisfactorily since the publication of these reports and the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) is what happens when the CPR are breached. Where does one draw the line between punishing failures to observe court process and providing substantive access to justice?

In 2013, the Court of Appeal tried to provide guidance regarding the application of Rule 3.9 of the CPR (which sets out the circumstances in which the court should grant parties relief from the sanction) in Mitchell v News Group. The cases that followed Mitchell showed, however, that there was still a great deal of judicial confusion surrounding the issue.

This summer, the Court of Appeal had another stab at providing a satisfactory answer in the case of Denton v TH White. In a joint lead judgment, Lord Dyson reviewed the standards the court should apply in assessing applications for relief. He took great pains to stress that his judgment in Mitchell remained ‘substantially sound’. He asserted that it needed ‘detailed restatement’. Critics might conclude that the new test is more an overhaul than a fine-tuning…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Shepherd & Wedderburn briefing.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in

Register

It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer

 

Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.

 

Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.

 

Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Shepherd and Wedderburn

View more briefings from Shepherd and Wedderburn

Analysis from The Lawyer

Overview

1 Exchange Crescent
Conference Square
Edinburgh
EH3 8UL
UK
http://www.shepwedd.co.uk/

Turnover (£m): 38.30
No. of lawyers: 169