November 27, 2019

Application of test for relief from sanctions in solicitors’ liability case

Badejo v Cranston [2019] 11 WLUK 330

A claimant won his appeal against a judge's refusal to grant him relief from sanctions where his claim had been automatically struck out following non-payment of the court trial fee. The judge had misdirected himself in finding that the claimant could not rely on disproportionality criteria. The third stage of the test in Denton v TH White Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 906 shows that, when considering relief from sanctions, the court had to consider whether it was just in all the circumstances to grant relief. That required the court to assess the proportionality of the consequences of refusing relief to the nature of the breach. The judge had failed to do this.

Whilst there were alternative remedies available to the claimant as he could bring a fresh claim against the defendant and/or a negligence claim against his solicitor, the former would be disproportionate and the latter would be less valuable than the claim against the defendant. The court's resources would also be stretched by dealing with another one or two claims and justice was better served by allowing the current claim to proceed.