Mitchell misunderstood and misapplied by some courts: Denton v White and conjoined appeals

Mitchell misunderstood and misapplied by some courts: Denton v White and conjoined appeals


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Denton v White Ltd; Decadent Vapours Ltd v Bevan; Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ 906

The Mitchell case [2014] 1 WLR 795, which heralded a strict approach to procedural compliance, has caused great controversy and much satellite litigation. The Court of Appeal specially listed these three appeals in order to clarify certain aspects of Mitchell.
The Court held, allowing all three appeals:

1. The guidance in Mitchell had been misunderstood by some lower courts, and needed clarification. There is no rule that relief must be refused for a non-trivial breach lacking a good reason.

2. CPR 3.9(1) contains three stages:

a. Whether the breach was serious or significant. If so, relief should be granted.
b. Consideration of the reason(s) for the breach.
c. Consideration of all of the circumstances of the case, including the need for compliance with rules, and the effect on the litigation itself.

3. Opportunism in resisting applications from relief against sanctions would be punished on costs.

4. Lord Justice Jackson dissented on the significance of the need for compliance with rules, and the effect on the litigation itself, holding that they were factors to be considered in each case, but (unlike the majority) they were not the most important factors.

Vikram Sachdeva and Jack Anderson acted for the Appellant in the case of Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies.You can read the full judgement by following this link. 

You can find a video of the submissions on the Law Gazette Website.

For further press please see the links below:

The Lawyer

The Law Society Gazette

Class Legal

New Law Journal

CDR website


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