‘Commonsense’ guidance on relief from sanctions
15 July, 2014
The Court of Appeal has issued guidance in the form of a three stage test to be applied in applications for relief from sanctions under CPR 3.9. This test replaces the Mitchell guidelines and requires the court to:
1: Identify and assess the seriousness of the non-compliance. Is the breach “serious or significant”?
2: If it is, why did the default occur?
3: Consider all the circumstances of the case in order to deal with the application “justly”, including (a) the need for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate cost and (b) the need to enforce compliance with rules, directions and court orders.
There is relief amongst practitioners that the new guidance appears to offer a return to a less draconian approach by the courts in relation to relatively minor procedural breaches, as the Gazette article below indicates: