Adjourning trial
Adjourning trial

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note 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?
  • Application of the ‘Fitzroy’ factors
  • Applying to adjourn on the grounds of ill health
  • Other authorities dealing with applications to adjourn
  • The relationship between CPR 39.3 and applications for adjournment
  • Appealing the decision
  • Costs
  • Court specific guidance

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.

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Note: Case management—court's powers—Dispute Resolution—Adjourning hearings—Rule 3.1(2)(b).

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