“What are the rules?” as Mitchell clarification continues

The Court of Appeal (CoA) last week upheld the High Court’s dismissal of an application under CPR 3.4 to strike out a claim for non-compliance with a Court Order. In doing so, the CoA confirmed that the guidance in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1537 and Denton v White and other appeals [2014] EWCA Civ 906 has a “direct bearing” on such applications.

Richards LJ agreed with the trial judge that, despite the legal distinction between whether or not to grant relief from a properly imposed sanction and whether to impose a sanction of strike-out in the first place, the principles in Mitchell are relevant.

Whilst going to some length to stress that the ultimate question for the Court is materially different in each case, it’s application of the three-stage test in Denton showed that the claimant’s breach was serious and there was no good reason for it. Further, it was important that the defendant was also in breach of court orders. Accordingly, Richards LJ considered the trial judge to have correctly approached the issues and dismissed the appeal.

Walsham Chalet Park Ltd (t/a the Dream Lodge Group) v Tallington Lakes Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 1607 (12 December 2014)

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