Rarely is reference made to the thunderous power of the Greek King of the Gods within the Course of civil litigation.
In the Horsham County Court in Case No. 2YL81766, Mr Shahzad Saleem -v- OCS Group Ltd District Judge Taylor considered the application of CPR.r.47.13:
(1) Where any party to the detailed assessment proceedings serves points of dispute, the receiving party may serve a reply on the other parties to the assessment proceedings.
(2) The receiving party may do so within 21 days after being served with the points of dispute to which the reply relates.
(Practice Direction 47 sets out the meaning of ‘reply’.)
Replies should have been served by the 17th January 2014 but were, for a variety of reason served in two parts dated 16th May 2014 and 23rd May 2014. In the post Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited  EWCA Civ. 1537 era (notwithstanding the recent authority of Denton v TH White Ltd  EWCA Civ 906) the Defendant, in the words of the Judge, sought that the Court impose a sanction upon the Claimant and ‘visit on parties who fail to observe time limits the wrath of Zeus, because, unless the Court thunders on them, Solicitors are unlikely to adhere to time-limits generally’.
The reality was that the CPR prescribes no sanction given that a party ‘may’ serve replies, no prejudice was caused and in any event the ‘…the court is likely to be assisted by the replies; striking them out is likely to hinder the process of provisional assessment because the Court will have less information…’.
The Defendant’s application failed and in keeping with the opinion of the judiciary was an application which should not have been pressed further to the Court room and for that reason the learned Judge made no Order as to Costs. A stark reminder to practitioners to not flippantly pursue applications based upon technicalities, especially in the post Denton climate.
Blog by Nicholas J Browne, Solicitor