CPR 3.9. Extensions of time for appeal.

The time for appeal as set out in the CPR have to be complied with in all but unusual circumstances. This was confirmed in the recent car of Yeates v AVIVA Insurance UK Ltd [2012] EWCA Civ 634. After flood damage to his and neighbouring properties Yeates decided to incorporate into a company to offer himself via the company as a project manager or main contractor for anyone needing services after the flood.

In fact the company only provided services to the home-owner and his wife. He never informed the insurer’s loss adjusters that the company was himself in a corporate guise. The  insurers discovered this and  sought to refuse the claim arguing the company had been set up as a fraudulent device to advance his claim. Insurers obtained summary judgment.

The court granted permission to appeal because the law as to fraudulent claims and devices was developing and the decision would have serious consequences for him.

The court has stated that time for appeal of decisions, final or otherwise, are to be obeyed in all but unusual circumstances.

In this case, Yeates applied for an extension of time to appeal against summary judgement.

Yeates appealed 8 months out of time, after the Defendant had already taken steps to enforce the judgement it had obtained on its counter claim. Yeates said that he had no knowledge of the time limit, although it transpired that his former solicitor had advised on that point.

The Court of Appeal held it would not be right to extend time, as rules regarding time limits, are to be obeyed in all but unusual circumstances.

A checklist at CPR 3.9, sets out the factors to be considered when granting relief from sanctions. Those are:

  • a) In the interests of the administration of justice;
  • b) when the application for relief has been made promptly;
  • c) whether the failure to comply was intentional;
  • d) there is a good explanation for the failure;
  • e) the extent to which the party in default has complied with other the rules, practice directions, court orders and any relevant pre action protocol;
  • f) whether the failure to comply was caused by the party or his legal representative;
  • g) whether the trial date or the likely trial date can still be met if relief is granted;
  • h) the effect which the failure to comply had on each party; and
  • i) the effect which the granting of relief would have on each party.
  • Any application for relief must be supported by evidence.

The merits of the case in respect of the appeal could be considered if the question of the extension of time was difficult to resolve. The court in this case thought it wasn’t. Despite him knowing the time limits, Yeates had done nothing to pursue his appeal until the Defendant had started enforcement proceedings. The court also felt the merits of the appeal were questionable.

In all but unusual circumstances, time limits for appeal have to be strictly complied with. It is vital that if you are to appeal that you do so promptly, and within the time for appeal contained in the CPR.

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