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Posted by Lynne on June 8th 2017
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In Redbourne Group Ltd v Fairgate Development Ltd (see here for judgment), the High Court adopted a strict approach against a Defendant who failed to file the defence in time and subsequently applied to set aside the default judgment and for relief from sanctions.
Soon after the Jackson Reforms were implemented and particularly after the infamous Mitchel case, the Law Society and others became concerned that the Courts were adopting an unduly harsh approach in applications for relief from sanctions, following breaches of the Civil Procedure Rules and Court orders. Such an approach it was feared, would deprive litigants of proper adjudication and would encourage a belligerent approach from the other party. The Bar Council for example stated that:
“Mitchell has taken the civility out of civil litigation”
There was some relief (no pun intended) following the Denton judgment, which provided for a three-stage test; namely is the breach serious, why did it occur and finally a consideration of all of the circumstances to consider whether or not it is just to grant relief. The third stage was viewed as a fail-safe where there had been a relatively serious error without a sound explanation.
The above judgment potentially indicates a return to the stricter Mitchel approach and this is how it has been reported, see here. The judgment suggests at paragraph 84, that relief would not have been granted, even if the Defendant had established a real prospect of defending the claim because of the inadequate explanations provided for the failure to file a defence on time.
However, these comments are obiter dictum as the judge ruled that the Defendant had failed to establish a real prospect of defending the claim; it is one thing to decide in the abstract that serious procedural failings alone should deprive a party of proper adjudication, it is quite another to decide this when presented with a cogent and persuasive defence.
 See  EWCA Civ 1537
 See  EWCA Civ 906
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Andrew Franks, Ellis Franks Ltd View More
Originally we placed our case to recoup losses from a Builder who claimed that they had run out of finance and were unable to complete the contract we had to self fund the completion of the work.
We approached a Solicitor’s practice and they advised that after many months are investigation they felt that the builder could not repay the amount. We approached Stripes and they offered a no win no fee approached and we accepted.
Immediately they began proceedings against the Builder and they Court accepted the Claim and the Builder agreed to pay off the debt. Since then we have had a full settlement which Stripes concluded on our behalf.