The courts begin to drive home the Jackson message

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In its newsflash of 27 November 2013, Hogan Lovells reported on the ground-breaking case of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers. In the Mitchell case, the Court of Appeal made clear that the Jackson regime for civil litigation had ushered in a whole new culture of conducting litigation, in which parties that failed to meet procedural deadlines or to comply with rules and court orders could henceforth expect little sympathy from the courts.

It is up to a party that has failed to comply with a rule or order to apply for ‘relief against sanctions’ under CPR 3.9. This rule has been strengthened under the Jackson reforms to make it more difficult to obtain relief. In Mitchell, the Court of Appeal held that from now on a sanction would be applied unless the breach of a rule or order had been trivial or there had been a ‘good reason’ for it (for example where a party or its solicitor had contracted a debilitating illness) and even then only if the application for relief had been made promptly.

Hogan Lovells summarises below cases where the courts have been applying the Mitchell ruling. In most cases, the judges seem to be at pains to point out that, from now on, things are going to be very different: there will be few hiding places for those who fail to comply with orders and rules…

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