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England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Queen's Bench Division) Decisions >> The Lord Chancellor v Former Partnership of Taylor Willcocks Solicitors & Ors  EWHC 3664 (QB) (07 November 2014)
Cite as:  EWHC 3664 (QB),  1 Costs LO 51
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|THE LORD CHANCELLOR|
|(as successor to the Legal Services Commission)||Appellant/Claimant|
|Former Partnership of|
|TAYLOR WILLCOCKS SOLICITORS||1st Defendants/Respondents|
|VALLANCE & Co||2nd Defendants|
|COLIN STONE||3rd Defendant|
|COLIN THORPE||4th Defendant/Respondent|
|PAUL TRIM||5th Defendant/Respondent|
|SARAH ADDISON||6th Defendant/Respondent|
DAN STACEY (instructed by Cripps LLP) for the DEFENDANTS/RESPONDENTS
Hearing date: 22nd October 2014
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Globe :
Summary of key dates
"Particulars of claim must be served on the defendant no later than the latest time for serving a claim form."
"…..before 12 midnight on the calendar day 4 months after the date of issue of the claim form."
"(1) On an application for relief from any sanction imposed for a failure to comply with any rule, practice direction or court order, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case, so as to enable it to deal justly with the application, including the need-
a) for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate cost; and
to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and orders."
Decision of Master Leslie dated 4 June 2014
"I accept that I have to look at all the circumstances of the case. No good reason has been advanced for the delay, which it goes without saying I find not to be trivial; indeed, very, very much the opposite, very serious. Even two weeks after this length of time shows certainly either a lack of understanding of the position or some rather 'lese-majeste' attitude, which is to be deprecated."
The cases of Mitchell –v- MGN and Denton -v- White
"24. We consider that the guidance given in paragraphs 40 and 41 of Mitchell remains substantially sound. However, in view of the way in which it has been interpreted, we propose to restate the approach that should be applied in a little more detail. A judge should address an application for relief from sanctions in three stages. The first stage is to identify and assess the seriousness and significance of the "failure to comply with any rule, practice direction or court order" which engages rule 3.9. If the breach is neither serious nor significant, the court is unlikely to need to spend much time on the second and third stages. The second stage is to consider why the default occurred. The third stage is to evaluate "all the circumstances of the case, so as to enable [the court] to deal justly with the application including [factors (a) and (b)]"
The Appellant's submissions
The Respondents' submissions
The procedure on appeals
"The appellate court should only interfere when they consider that the judge of first instance ……. has exceeded the generous ambit within which a reasonable disagreement is possible."
"Before a court can interfere, it must be shown that the judge has either erred in principle in his approach or has left out of account or has taken into account some feature that he should or should not have considered or that his decision was wholly wrong because the court is forced to the conclusion that he has not balanced the various factors in the scale."