Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited [2013] EWCA 1526 (27 November 2013)

Posted on Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The Claimant had failed to engage in attempts to discuss budgets and budgetary assumptions and failed to file and exchange a costs budget by the required date. It was ordered that the Claimant was limited to a budget consisting of the applicable court fees.  the Claimant therefore made an application for relief from sanctions.

Master McCloud found that the explanations by the Claimant’s Solicitors were not unusual and carried even less weight post-Jackson, there was no evidence that the Claimant would suffer particular prejudice, the Defendant had been able to deal with the matter in time using cost lawyers and there had been an absolute failure by the Claimant to engage and no attempt to ask for extra time or notify difficulties in complying.  The Claimant’s application was therefore refused.

Master McCloud granted permission to appeal on the court’s own motion and she commented that under the old regime it was far more likely that relief would have been granted.

The case was fast-tracked to the Court of Appeal however, the Court of Appeal refused relief from sanctions, with Lord Dyson concluding that “Our decision will send out a clear message.  If it does, we are confident that, in time, legal representatives will become more efficient and will routinely comply with rules, practice directions and orders.”

For the full Judgement please click here.

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