Extensions of time—beware of making assumptions

Extensions of time—beware of making assumptions
Dispute Resolution analysis: Will a strict breach of court deadlines mean the full force of restrictive relief provisions will now apply? Anthony Jones of 4 New Square Chambers says lawyers need to be especially vigilant with regard to deadlines and make interim applications in good time, and Lucy McCormick of Henderson Chambers says what remains unclear is the position when an application for an extension of time is made after the expiry of a deadline.

Original news

Kaneria v Kaneria [2014] EWHC 1165 (Ch), [2014] All ER (D) 30 (May)

The Chancery Division, in granting the first to the fifth respondents an extension of time for service of their defences, held that an in-time application for an extension of time should not be treated as if it were an application for relief from sanctions, but should be judged against the overriding objective.

What issues did the case raise?

Anthony Jones (AJ): The substantive proceedings to which this decision relates involve an unfair prejudice petition under the Companies Act 2006, s 994. At an interim hearing, directions were made requiring that the respondents’ defences be filed and served by 14 February 2014, with sanctions for non-compliance. A request made for the parties to agree an extension of time for filing and serving the defences was refused, and an application for such extension was made by the respondents on 11 February 2014. That application had not been heard by the time (some of) the respondents’ defences were served on 15 February 2014.

The applicant then made a cross-application arguing that as the 14 February 2014 deadline had not been complied with, the respondents were in essence seeking relief from sanction and that, following the decision in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1537, [2013] All ER (D) 314 (Nov), the applicant would need to satisfy the

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