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Plebgate costs budgeting case leapfrogged to Court of Appeal


Dyson: consulted over leapfrogging case

The Court of Appeal is set to hear the landmark Plebgate costs management case, in which the budget of former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell MP for suing The Sun for libel was restricted to just the court fee as a result of failures to comply with the new CPR.

Mr Justice MacDuff made the order to leapfrog the appeal against Master McCloud’s decision [2] to the Court of Appeal, and Litigation Futures understands that the Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, was consulted.

The appeal, a date for which has not yet been set, will be the first test of the senior judiciary’s support for a much harder line on non-compliance with the CPR and granting relief from sanctions.

Shortly before implementation of the Jackson reforms on 1 April, Lord Dyson warned parties [3] that they can “no longer expect indulgence if they fail to comply with their procedural obligations”.

There is a roster of five Court of Appeal judges who will deal with cases arising out of the Jackson reforms. At least one of them will be on the bench for such appeals. They are Lord Dyson, Lord Justice Jackson himself, Lord Justice Stephen Richards (the deputy head of civil justice), and Lord Justices Davis and Lewison.

In his March speech, Lord Dyson stressed that the approach required by the revised overriding objective will not simply apply to questions of rule-compliance and relief from sanctions – it will apply to case management, costs management and costs budgeting as well.

He said: “Those commentators who perceive, for instance, the decision in Henry v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 19 as some form of signal from the Court of Appeal that the new rules will not be applied robustly are wrong. Henry was decided under the Mark I overriding objective.”