Financial & Legal News

INSIGHT: 28 Day Buffer for Civil Procedure Rules

  • Posted on

From April 2013 where a party failed to comply with a rule, direction or court order, any sanction for failure to comply imposed by the rule, practice direction or court order had effect unless the party in default applied for and obtained relief from sanction. Further, the rules did not permit the parties the opportunity to agree an extension of time for compliance.

Unsurprisingly following this amendment, the Courts were flooded with applications for relief from sanction made by parties in default.

The Courts however, took a hard line approach to such applications and applied the zero tolerance guidance set out by the Court of Appeal in Mitchell v News Group. Parties breaching deadlines were then at risk of having their case struck out with an adverse cost orders being granted against them.

The message to parties engaged in litigation being that they should they require additional time in otgvrder to comply with a rule, practice direction or court order, they must make an application to the Court for an extension of time before the expiry of a deadline, as t yhose types of application were more likely to succeed than those made seeking relief.

The effect of which caused increased pressure on the Courts as solicitors were forced to make applications for extensions of time in order to avoid sanctions which could have  a devastating impact upon the outcome of the claim. The impact of those sanctions or the risk that relief would not be granted (where early applications were not made) also caused also unrest between parties, as the party not at fault seemingly gained the upper hand in the litigation.

The Civil Procedure Rules have now been amended and include a new ‘buffer rule’ which applies within the Civil Courts.  The new rule came into force this summer and allows parties to agree extended deadlines of up to 28 days for serving documents, providing certain conditions are met and hearing dates are not impacted upon.

Commenting on the move, Litigation Solicitor, Nicola Laurie, said:  “I welcome this amendment, sometimes it is not always possible to comply with a deadline set by the Court.  Anything can happen in litigation proceedings, the amendment is a sensible approach which allows parties to agree time extensions without either party having to incur unnecessary costs and waste valuable Court time.”

For advice on commercial litigation contact

Also in this issue of Insight

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

    How can we help?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.