Legal Bloggers disagree on importance of new court ruling.

Practitioners have been very concerned about the attitude of the Courts since April to short delays in complying with Court Orders and in particular what happens when the parties have agreed to put dates back. This culminated in the Mitchell decision where all of the former cabinet minister’s future legal costs were disallowed because his solicitors had failed to comply with a court order to serve a costs budget.

On Wednesday Kerry Underwood announced on his blog,, that there was a “Major retreat from Mitchell/Jackson” with a new direction approved by the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division which  expressly stated that  in an attempt to reduce extension of time applications the parties could now agree extensions of time of up to 28 days without the need to apply to Court.

However the following day e-mails were circulating with the following heading and short statement:-

“Professor Dominic Regan would like to correct an erroneous statement widely circulated yesterday

There is no retreat from Mitchell whatsoever. In the specialist field of clinical negligence ONLY a modest change enabling parties to vary time has been introduced. It has NO application elsewhere as the note from the clerk to the Rules Committee sets out below. "

This was followed up on the equally much read profdominicregan.blogspot with the following entry:-


“A draft amendment to the clinical negligence model direction used by the Queen’s Bench Masters, allowing for times set by the directions to be extended by up to 28 days by agreement, has been approved by the PQBD and Deputy Head of Civil Justice but no decision has been taken on whether there should be any general change to model directions or to standard directions under the Civil Procedure Rules.  This is the subject of discussion within the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and any decision will require the approval of the Master of the Rolls.”

What are practitioners to make of this ? O
nly time will tell



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