Agreements to extend time—buffer agreements
Agreements to extend time—buffer agreements

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Agreements to extend time—buffer agreements
  • Agreeing an extension of time under CPR 3.8(4)
  • Applying for an extension of time beyond the time permitted in CPR 3.8(4)
  • When should you agree an extension of time under CPR 3.8(4)
  • Examples of where buffer agreements may be used
  • Circumstances where a buffer agreement may not be appropriate
  • Background to the introduction of CPR 3.8(4)

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Notes: Extension of time, Making an application, Relief from sanctions—the application, Relief from sanctions—when (and when not) to use and Interim applications—costs recovery.

Agreeing an extension of time under CPR 3.8(4)

CPR 3.8(4) permits the parties to agree to extend, by prior written agreement, the time for doing an act as specified in a court order or the CPR, for which the consequences of a failure to comply are specified. The maximum period of the extension as set out in CPR 3.8(4) is 28 days and the extension must also not put at risk any hearing date (CPR 3.8(3) and CPR 3.8(4)). However note that CPR 3.8(4) is amended with effect from 2 April 2020 until 30 October 2020 to permit extensions of time up to a period of 56 days (which do not put hearing dates at risk) by virtue of CPR PD 51ZA, which was introduced as a temporary measure during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (CPR PD 51ZA, para 2).

This agreement can be entered into by an exchange of letters (which is often the approach in practice) or by way of a formal agreement. For an example of such an agreement, see Precedent: Buffer agreement—agreement to extend time for compliance. For example letters requesting or responding to a