Being a rather organised individual, the thought of missing a deadline fills me with dread however, the recent case of Murry v BAE Systems PLC conjured up mixed emotions – much to my own surprise, believe me. I have always been a follower of rules, they are there for a reason after all but perhaps I am beginning to see things from different sides.
Whilst the deadline in this case was surpassed by a whole week, (7 days!), as a firm of solicitor’s you have to act in your client’s best interests and this breach was clearly not the client’s fault – putting myself in the client’s shoes, it would be unfair on them for their cost budget not to be allowed for an error which was not their fault. This is why I do have some understanding that the decision was overturned and relief granted. However, on the other hand, the solicitors are professionals and should perhaps know better?
I find it hard to believe that a large firm like Thompsons does not have an automatic diary entry system. I find it best practice to ensure that all keys dates are entered in 3 places for instance, two electronically on different systems and then one the “good ol’ fashioned way” – manually by pen and paper because some times, technology just isn’t all that brilliant!
HHJ Gregory allowed the Claimant’s appeal which, as I’ve said, I can understand why but am a little reluctant to agree to, but the fact that the Claimant’s costs were allowed is the bit I am really struggling with. As I mentioned, it was not the poor client’s fault, but it wasn’t exactly the Defendant’s fault either was it?
It’s safe to say, with such controversy, I’m a little relieved to not be a District Judge…
A firm which filed its costs budget seven days late due to a change in fee-earner has been granted relief from sanctions on appeal. In Murray v BAE Systems PLC, the claimant filed Form H with the court after hours on 24 August 2015, having been given a deadline of 19 August. The court the failure to file and serve the costs budget was due to a lack of communication between the fee-earner on the case and her predecessor about who was responsible. A further reason advanced was the absence of an automatic diary entry system at the firm’s office to cater for orders. District judge Harrison said last August she accepted the explanation for the delay and that it arose from a genuine mistake rather than deliberate disregard for court rules.