Sanctions and Relief from Sanctions

The Court has a number of sanctions that can be applied where there has been a failure to follow directions. Rule 3.4 allows the Court to strike out a statement of case which may have the effect of bringing a case to a close. This power could be exercised where the statement of case discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending the claim and there has been a failure to comply with a rule, practice direction or Court Order.

If the Court passes a sanction against a party then they can apply for relief from sanctions. Paragraph 3.9 states:

(1) On an application for relief from any sanction imposed for a failure to comply with any rule, practice direction or court order, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case, so as to enable it to deal justly with the application, including the need –

(a) for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate cost; and

(b) to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and orders.

(2) An application for relief must be supported by evidence.

The case of Denton v TH White Limited (2014) EWCA Civ 906 provides some principles for deciding whether to grant relief from sanctions. An accessible article on relief from sanctions and the tests in Denton can be found here.