The recent case of Redbourn Group Ltd v Fairgate Development Ltd serves as a useful reminder to all parties to adhere strictly to the deadlines which the Courts in civil litigation disputes impose.
Until very recently, legal representatives who missed court deadlines would often avoid sanctions for non-compliance. Defences, Evidence and documents integral to the smooth operation of a case would often be filed late, yet courts would often be reluctant or indeed unable to impose any real sanctions. Since the welcome tightening of this lax approach to litigation, courts have been sanctioning parties who fail to comply with court deadlines without a justifiable reason. These sanctions include striking out claims or defences, entering Judgments in default and declining to award a party’s costs.
In Redbourn, the High Court Judge, The Honourable Mr Justice Coulson, commented that legal representatives must explain the reason for delays and non-compliance of court deadlines in order to avoid sanctions, re-affirming the principles laid down in the Lord Jackson’s civil litigation reforms of 2013.
In essence, if there are ‘serious and significant’ delays, then the court is ‘bound to take a very adverse view’ of the ‘wholesale failure’ to explain non-compliance and that party runs a significant risk of sanctions being imposed. Therefore it is critical that legal representatives get their house in order and ensure that sufficient time is given to meet each and every deadline of a case.
James Howard, our Litigation Executive in civil litigation, will be pleased to talk with you about your case and discuss the options available to you. If you have any queries please feel free to call us on 01202 877 400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.