Mitchell Take 2: revised guidance from the Court of Appeal on relief from sanctions

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After 8 months of uncertainty and legal angst, the Court of Appeal has clarified the Mitchell Guidance [1] and in so doing, introduced a fresh approach for those seeking relief from court sanctions. No longer is the post Jackson motto comply, comply, comply – or be sanctioned with very little hope of relief. Rather the Court of Appeal has introduced a 3 stage test to encourage a more practical and cooperative approach to compliance by those litigating and a more consistent and just approach by the courts.

A culture of compliance with an occasional, albeit rare need for court intervention satellite litigation remains the goal. There is also a clear message that there will be costs penalties for those wasting court time with applications that could have been dealt with by agreement and the straightforward appliance of the new 3 stage test.

Litigators and judges alike will welcome the clarification which many hope will reduce considerably the likelihood of disproportionate penalties and decisions. It might even make litigators more willing to cooperate with each other…

For those who have not already seen our review of the decision, click here.

[1] (1) Charles Graham Denton (2) Mary Denton (3) Roger Thomas Denton v (1) Th White Ltd (2) De Laval Ltd : Decadent Vapours Ltd v (1) Joseph Bevan (2) Jamie Salter (3) Celtic Vapours Ltd : Utilise TDS Ltd v (1) Neil Cranstoun Davies (2) Bolton Community College Corp (3) Watertrain Ltd (2014) [2014] EWCA Civ 906