Court of Appeal Provides Valuable Guidance on Jackson Reforms


Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations, which were by and large implemented in their entirety and came into force on 1 April 2013, were intended to be “a coherent package of interlocking reforms, designed to control costs and promote access to justice”. As far as many commercial litigators were concerned, the most significant elements of this package involved costs budgeting and a firmer approach to case management.

While some judges appear to have embraced the new philosophy and enforced strict compliance with procedural requirements and deadlines, others have continued to take a less draconian approach. The most notorious example of the former attitude was the decision of Master McCloud in Andrew Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWHC 2179 (QB). In this case, having failed to file a costs budget until an hour before the CMC (when it should have been lodged seven days’ earlier), the claimant’s budget was limited to court fees and his application for relief from this sanction was subsequently refused. By contrast, in Re Atrium Training Services Ltd and Connor Williams Ltd [2013] EWHC 1562 (Ch), the applicant was permitted a fifth extension of time for disclosure (albeit on an unless basis) because the respondent had failed to demonstrate that it would suffer a real prejudice if the extension was granted.

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