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Jennifer Newcomb secures successful relief from sanctions application, three weeks before trial

News | Mon 3rd Aug, 2015

Jennifer Newcomb successfully obtained relief from sanctions on behalf of a Claimant who had failed to file witness evidence in support of his quantum claim in a multi-track personal injury action. Witness evidence was served 6 months prior to the trial date, as per court directions, but quantum evidence had been omitted from the Claimant’s witness statement.  Unsurprisingly, the application was strongly opposed by the Defendant. The application was heard 3 weeks before trial.

Jennifer’s submissions were based on the guidance in Denton v TH White Ltd & others [2014] EWCA Civ 906. Although the DDJ took the view that the breach was serious and/or significant, and there was no good reason for the breach, he concluded that in all the circumstances of the case, he would give permission to the Claimant to rely on the further statement. Key considerations were that the contents of the statement were putting flesh on the bones of the schedule of loss and medical report that had been served, nothing in the statements was taking the Defendant by surprise or fundamentally changing the way the case was put and the trial date was not being threatened. Despite the Defendant’s submissions that questions might need to be put to the medical expert arising from the witness evidence, and that this evidence was a ‘game changer’,  the judge concluded that it was unlikely such questions would be put.

The case illustrates that, when made properly, even late applications for relief from sanctions can now be successful.

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