Relief from sanctions – an important post Mitchell decision

Adlington & 133 others v Els International Lawyers LLP (in administration) 12 December 2013 (Claim No 2BM90107).

This is a post Mitchell decision where relief from sanctions was granted by HHJ Oliver-Jones QC.

The court found that the failure to comply with an unless order to serve particulars of claim in relation to eight out of 134 claimants in a group professional negligence action was a trivial breach. The particular claimants were out of the country at the time.

The judge also considered that the application was made promptly and there were no adverse consequences either to the Defendant or to the conduct of the litigation overall.

When granting relief HHJ Oliver-Jones QC quoted the Master of the Rolls March implementation speech:

The relationship between justice and procedure has not changed so as to transform rules and rule compliance into trip wires, and ‘nor has it changed it by turning the rules and rule compliance into the mistress rather than the handmaid of justice”.