Adjourning trial
Produced in partnership with Mark Surguy of Weightmans
Adjourning trial

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note Produced in partnership with Mark Surguy of Weightmans provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Adjourning trial
  • Power to adjourn the trial
  • What factors will a court consider on an application to adjourn the trial?
  • Non-appearance at the trial
  • Timing of the application to adjourn
  • Adjournment on the grounds of ill-health
  • Adjourning trial because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • Public interest
  • Parties prevented from attending by anti-suit injunction
  • Absence of evidence and insufficient preparation time
  • more

This Practice Note provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the Civil Procedure Rules. Depending on the court in which your matter is proceeding, you may also need to be mindful of additional provisions—see further below.

Power to adjourn the trial

A court has the power to adjourn or bring forward a hearing under CPR 3.1(2)(b). Note that ‘hearing’ is defined in the CPR as ‘the making of any interim or final decision by a judge...’ (CPR 39.1(1)) so CPR 3.1(2)(b) will apply to interim hearings and the trial. For information on adjourning an interim hearing, see Practice Note: Case management—court's powers—Dispute Resolution—Adjourning hearings—Rule 3.1(2)(b).

When exercising its power under CPR 3.1(2)(b), the court must consider the overriding objective under CPR 1.1. This requires the court to perform a balancing exercise to ensure the parties are on an equal footing, the case is dealt with proportionately, expeditiously and fairly and that a proportionate and appropriate share of the court’s resources is allocated to the case. It is a case management decision whether or not to grant an adjournment.

Where a party wants to vary a trial date or trial period that has already been fixed, an application must be made under CPR 29.5(1) (multi-track claims) or CPR 28.4 (fast track claims). This rule clearly indicates the extent