Cripps act for successful defendant in relief from sanctions appeal

In a recent high profile case, Cripps acted for a successful Defendant defending an appeal against a decision refusing to grant the Claimant relief from sanctions for the late service of particulars of claim.

In The Lord Chancellor v Former Partnership of Taylor Willcocks Solicitors and others [2014] EWHC 3664 (QB), the Claimants served their Claim Form on the last day of its validity under the Civil Procedure Rules but they failed to serve Particulars of Claim within the deadline imposed by the Rules. Usually, particulars of claim can be served on a defendant within 14 days after the service of the claim form, however this cannot be any later than the last day for serving the Claim Form. This Claimant sent draft particulars of claim to the Defendant 18 days after service of the Claim Form.

The Claimants applied to extend time for service of the particulars of claim 10 days after the deadline for service had expired. This application was originally turned down by the Master Leslie who stated that 'no good reason has been advanced for the delay' and that the breach of the Civil Procedure Rules was 'very serious'.

The High Court Judge upheld Master Leslie‚Äôs decision on appeal and said that it 'was a considered decision applying the Mitchell guidance correctly. It stands up to scrutiny even when studied alongside the later, amplified Denton guidance. The appeal must be dismissed'.

This decision provides further clarification on the recent relief from sanctions test imposed by Mitchell and Denton.
Link to judgment here.