Has Your Solicitor Missed a Deadline?
The Jackson Reforms of April 2013 marked a new tough regime for complying with Court Orders, Rules and Practice Directions. Historically, the Court had tended to show leniency where deadlines were missed, which could be extremely frustrating and costly for clients and solicitors who conducted cases in a timely fashion.
The new rules provide that if a party fails to comply with Orders, Rules or Practice Directions, their evidence could be excluded, they could be penalised in costs, or their case could be struck out. The only exceptions were to be where the non-compliance was trivial.
Most people will be familiar with the “Plebgate” scandal and the case of Andrew Mitchell MP -v- Newsgroup Newspapers Limited. This case reinforced the Jackson reforms and emphasised that compliance with Orders, Rules and Practice Directions was paramount. In the Mitchell case, his solicitors failed to file a costs budget and he was therefore not allowed to claim any of his costs from his opponent, despite the fact that his case had been successful.
Since the Mitchell case, the rules have softened a little, and on 5 June 2014 a new rule came into force allowing the parties to agree extensions of time in certain limited circumstances. However, the principles of the tough nwe regime remain and solicitors are simply not permitted to agree multiple extensions of time any longer, which will no doubt be of relief to clients who want cases dealt with quickly.
Mistakes do still happen of course. If your solicitor has missed a deadline and you have suffered as a result, Samuels can help. We are specialists in dealing with professional negligence, and are always happy to discuss flexible funding arrangements with our clients.
Contact us for a free, no obligation discussion.