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Courts start to enforce Mitchell decision

18 December 2013

Decisions relating to the compliance with directions are like buses; you wait ages for one and then they all come at once.

We waited until the end of November for the Court of Appeal’s decision in Mitchell; however decisions demonstrating the court’s strict approach following the Jackson reforms are now coming in thick and fast, with two decisions published today.

In Adlington & 133 Ors v Els International the judge held the failure of 7 of the 134 claimants to sign a statement of truth, due to holiday commitments, could not be categorised as “trivial” as defined in Mitchell.  Accordingly he would not grant those claimants relief from sanctions.

In Durrant v Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset the Court of Appeal held, that while it will not interfere with case management decisions lightly, the robust approach set out in Mitchell must not be undermined by lower courts’ decision.

The message from the courts is clear: relief from sanctions will rarely be granted where a party fails to comply with directions.

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