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Mitchell convoy approaching!

The Law Society Gazette has reported that the Court of Appeal is due to hear three consecutive appeals on Mitchell related issues. The cases are due to be heard on 15th and 16th June and are intended to give some clarity for lawyers in what has become an unpredictable landscape.

The cases to be heard are Utilise TDS Limited v Davies, Decadent Vapours Ltd v Bevan & Ors A3/2014/0767 and Denton & Ors v TH White Ltd & Anr A2/2014/0126.

Utilise was a case involving relief from sanctions for failure to file a cost budget in time (41 minutes late). The district judge took account of other breaches and refused to grant relief from sanctions. Although each of the breaches individually were regarded as trivial, the decision was upheld on appeal to the high court (see Utilise TDS Limited v Davies [2014] EWHC 834). The decisions in Decadent Vapours Ltd and Denton & Ors do not appear to have been reported.

Mitchell heralded a new era tough case management by the courts and was followed by a great deal of uncertainty and unpredictability, extremely cautious applications to extend time and a reluctance to agree extensions of time for compliance with timetables set by rules or court orders. Some decisions subsequently have brought clarity (see for example my blog on Isaac Stoute v LTA Operations Ltd on 23rd May 2014) but others have suggested a very mixed approach and perpetuated uncertainty.

Like London buses, three decisions are about to arrive at once. We wait with anticipation to see whether they bring clarity and what direction they will take us in…

We like to drive in convoys – we’re most gregarious:
The big six-wheeler scarlet-painted London transport diesel-engined 97-horsepower omnibus
.” (Flanders and Swann – ‘Transport of delight’)


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