Denton v White & others; Decadent Vapours Limited v Bevan & others; Utilise TDS Limited v Cranstoun Davies & others  EWCA Civ 906 (04 July 2014)
The eagerly awaited Judgment in the above linked cases, which were directly affected by the Mitchell case, was finally handed down on 04 July, with the Court of Appeal agreeing unanimously that all three cases be allowed.
Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, believed that the ruling in Mitchell had been ‘misunderstood’ and was ‘being misapplied by some courts’, with some judges not considering all the circumstances of the case. The principles set out in CPR 3.9 had been incorrectly applied by the original judges in these three cases and clarification on the application and interpretation on Rule 3.9 was required.
A three stage test should now be applied by the courts, when determining relief from sanctions applications:
- Identify and assess the seriousness and significance of the breach.
- Consider and assess why the breach occurred.
- Consider and evaluate all the circumstances of the case.
It was envisaged that compliance would hopefully increase with this Judgment and thus reduce the need for satellite litigation on relief from sanctions issues. Co-operation between parties was paramount with respondents who objected unreasonably to relief applications being heavily penalised in costs.
The full Judgment can be read here