Has Your Solicitor Missed a Deadline?

Jan Samuel

Court deadlines are important and parties to litigation should make every effort to comply with them, in all cases. 


The importance of Court deadlines

The Jackson Reforms of April 2013 marked a tough new 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 Jackson Reforms provided 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 new 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. 

The Courts are becoming tougher again, and unless parties in default make a quick application for relief from sanctions, they could find that they cannot progress their cases properly, or at all. 


What if a solicitor misses a deadline?

Solicitors should always note deadlines very carefully in their calendars, and if they fail to do so, it is likely that their clients will be penalised. 

If your solicitor has missed a deadline, there is every possibility that the Court will strike out your claim of defence. This is because judges know that all solicitors are insured, and therefore if a solicitor makes this type of mistake, you will be able to sue them for compensation. 

If your solicitor has missed a Court deadline, Samuels Solicitors can help. We are specialists in picking up cases that other solicitors have not dealt with properly, and with pursuing professional negligence claims for clients who's solicitors have made mistakes.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation discussion about how we can help you. 

deadline missed by solicitor negligence compensation