Blog - Monday 20 January 2014

Relief!  Relief I tell you. . . 

In a very strange turn of events, the same Master in the SCCO (first instance decisions) has denied a relief from sanctions application (see below), whilst pointing out that the sanction seems rather harsh:

http://www.litigationfutures.com/news/costs-judge-refuses-relief-despite-qualms-sanction

But on the other hand, granted relief less than a week later – in a similar (albeit not on all fours) application:

http://www.litigationfutures.com/news/costs-judge-grants-relief-failure-serve-n251-yes-really

I would be surprised if the latter case is not appealed.  It seems a step too far to make such inferences that the retainer would maintain ‘advantageous’ (to the client).  Some element of prejudice also seems to have been taken into account, I feel like its March 2012 all over again.

Unfortunately, there are a swathe of recent decisions like these.  First instance decisions where Judges are still concentrating on access to justice between the parties in specific cases and not the wider access to justice that the Court of Appeal (in Mitchell) told everyone we should now aim towards.

Its going to be a busy 18 months for the judiciary and parties in relations to Applications for Relief.