the professional negligence blog

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Mitchell re-visited:Court of Appeal hears three linked relief from sanctions appeals

On 16 and 17 June 2014 the Court of Appeal took the unusual decision to hear three appeals together which concerned relief from sanctions and the application of Mitchell principles. One of the appeals was from the decision in Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies [2014] EWHC 834 (Ch). Both the Law Society and Bar Council intervened arguing that the approach of the Court of Appeal in Mitchell had ‘spawned a new style of litigation’ where instead of actively working together to bring a case to trial, parties are focused on ‘catching each other out’. Appearing for the Bar Council, Mark Friston said the Bar has concerns about the way Mitchell is being applied. It has a ‘corrosive effect on cooperative conduct’ and has 'taken the civility out of civil litigation'. The Law Society argued that the test in Mitchell had been too narrowly drawn and that instead of 'trivial' breaches leading to relief being granted, the test should be whether the breach was 'immaterial', meaning that it had no detrimental effect on the course of the litigation. Judgment was reserved, however to see how the arguments unfolded take a look at the video on the Law Society Gazette website at

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