Making An Application For Relief From Sanctions - A Case Study

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By Aneela Ahmed - 28th July 2022

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Aneela Ahmed talks about a recent case where she was acting for her client, a Manchester based Company.

Aneela was instructed by the Company who had initiated court proceedings for an outstanding invoice. The Defendant had engaged the Companies services from March 2020 to provide digital media and marketing services. The Defendant agreed to pay £2,750.00 a month for services that the Company provided.

The Defendant failed to pay the outstanding sum as under the contract, and so the Company sought to recover the outstanding amount as under the contract. The Company issued proceedings against the Defendant on the money claims online portal for the outstanding monies under the contract which totaled £23,100.00. The Company sought to deal with the claim themselves and did not have a Solicitor dealing with the claim at this stage.

The Parties were ordered by the Courts to file Directions Questionnaires by the 18 October 2021. The Defendant filed a Directions Questionnaire on time with the Court. Unfortunately the Claimant failed to file a Directions Questionnaire by the deadline given by the Court.

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Due to the Claimants failure to adhere to the Court given deadline, the Court struck the claim out in its entirety on the 21 December 2021.

As a result the Company was no longer able to pursue the Defendant under the current claim as the claim effectively no longer existed. The Companies instructions were that they simply overlooked the Court Order advising them to file Directions Questionnaires.

The Company instructed Aneela Ahmed of Aticus Law Solicitors for advice. Aneela advised the Company that the best course of action would be to make a ‘relief from sanctions application’ to the Court. She proceeded to gather all the relevant information and she made a prompt application to the Court for relief from sanctions. Aneela provided the Court with an application and supporting statement and supporting evidence. The matter was listed heard at the Manchester County Court and Aneela made the following submissions in front of Deputy District Judge Carter on the day of the hearing:

  • The Claimant’s were acting for themselves when the Directions Questionnaire was due and they are not legally trained.
  • The matter was in its infancy and the Claimant’s breach did not affect any other directions.
  • No other Court dates had been affected by the Claimants breach.
  • Litigation had been conducted appropriately up until this breach
  • Allowing the application would save both the Claimant and Defendant further time and costs.
  • The Claimant recognises the need to instruct Solicitors going forwards and that another default was unlikely to occur.

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The matter was heard in front of Deputy District Judge Carter who advised in his Judgement that whilst he did consider the Claimants breach to be significant, taking into account the overriding objective to refuse the Claimants application would involve more time and money as the Claimant would be required to re issue the claim and further costs would be incurred in the Defendants providing a defence. He therefore allowed the Claimants application and granted relief from sanctions and reinstated the claim.

The Claim was allowed to continue as a result of the application.

If you have initiated a claim and you are unsure about what to do next, please get in touch with our Commercial Litigation team. It may be that your claim has been struck out due to you missing a deadline. This doesn’t necessarily mean that is the end of the road for your case. You may be able to have the claim reinstated by making a relief from sanctions application to the Court. Aneela Ahmed is an expert in dealing with these cases and should you require some no obligation advice, then do not hesitate to contact her.

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