You may have been aware of the “Plebgate” scandal involving the MP, Andrew Mitchell who allegedly called a police officer a “pleb” at Downing Street. What you may not be aware of is that the world of civil litigation has been greatly shaken up due to the libel action that Mr Mitchell subsequently issued against The Sun newspaper arising from this incident.
The 2 partner law firm acting for Mr Mitchell were stretched at the time as they had a shortage of staff and due to work pressures, overlooked filing at Court a required Costs Budget on time. The Court of Appeal decided that he should not be excused for their default .The ruling meant that even if the Conservative former chief whip wins his libel case, The Sun would not have to pay his legal fees.
The case is seen as a definitive guide to the court’s new approach following the Jackson reforms which came into force last April. This appears to be a somewhat harsh ruling and there is now a raft of new case law which supports this new hard line.
If the defaults are not “minor” or “trivial” (it is still unclear exactly what will be deemed as minor or trivial defaults) and there is no good reason for failing to comply with a court order or court rule then the defaulting party will be at risk of being unable to recover legal costs from the other side (even if it wins) or even worse having its case being struck out which is akin to losing a case!
Compliance with the rules and court timetables is now paramount so if your legal advisor requests instructions from you, we suggest that you respond promptly as otherwise you will be at risk of not being able to recover your legal costs or losing your case if a court rule or order is not complied with on time due to your delay. If you have any queries with regard to this article then please do not hesitate to contact Brenda Li on 0151 650 6833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.