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R.C. Residuals Limited v Linton Fuel Oils Limited, Court of Appeal

27 May 2002
The issues

Unless Orders – delay – relief from sanctions.

The facts

Lord Justice Kay delivered guidelines for the manner in which a Judge should grant relief from sanctions imposed for failure to comply with an Unless Order. He noted that it was important for the Judge to consider systematically the matters listed in Rule 3.9(i) ie:-

The interests of the Administration of Justice;

1. The promptness or otherwise of the Application for relief;

2. Whether the failure to comply was intentional;

3. Whether there was good explanation for the failure;

4. The extent to which the defaulting party has otherwise complied, including compliance with Pre-Action Protocol;

5. Whether the failure was caused by the party or his Legal Representative;

6. Whether the Trial date could still be met if relief was granted;

7. The effect of failure to comply on each party;

8. The effect which the granting of relief would have on each party.

These were matters of equal weight. Practitioners and parties had to realise speedily that compliance with an Unless Order should be as soon as possible and not on the last day. Equally, compliance on the day meant by 4.00 pm and not later, even minutes later.

Interestingly, Lord Justice Brooke in agreeing, commented that where in an emergency, service by e-mail was refused by the party to be served – as it had a strict right to do – that party might have difficulty in resisting an Application for relief from sanctions by a defaulting party.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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