Consequence of Civil Jackson Reforms on Application for Relief from Sanction
On 1 April 2013 as part of a number of amendments to the Court rules, the rules relating to the circumstances in which a party whose case had been struck out for failing to comply with an Unless Order (where a party is Ordered to take a step in the action by a certain date, failing which their claim will be struck out) were tightened.
If a case is struck out then the party can apply to the Court for relief, in other words, seek an Order to reinstate the claim. Prior to 1 April 2013, if that party could show that they had a good reason for failing to comply, and that there would be no prejudice suffered to the other party in having a claim reinstated, then it was normal that the application would be granted. However, the amendment introduced on 1 April made it quite clear that where a party has previously breached Court Order including the Unless Order, then regardless of whether no prejudice will be suffered by the other party, then the claim should remain struck out. This is on the basis that the Court now expects parties to comply with Court Orders. A number of applications have been made since the introduction of that rule, all of which have been unsuccessful in that the claim has not been reinstated. It is therefore essential that when a Court Order is made, it is complied with, particularly when the Order made is an Unless Order.
If you would like further information on this area or you have other questions regarding the Court Rules, please contact Peter Corrigan.