Home Group Ltd v Matrejek [2015]

In Home Group Ltd v Matrejek [2015] EWHC 441 (QB) (23 February 2015) the case concerned a Respondent’s failure to attend a directions hearing, which had been ordered by HHJ Lochrane. The hearing had joined together the Respondents claim for possession with other proceedings under the Children Act.

The claim for possession was dismissed at the hearing and the Respondent then applied for relief from sanctions on the grounds that, as the court had been notified that no directions were required in its claim for possession, the Respondent believed its claim would not be dealt with at the directions hearing and further the Appellant’s new Solicitors had requested the hearing be vacated.

HHJ Lochrane applied the principles laid down in Mitchell v NGN 2013 and gave relief from sanction noting that although the Respondent was aware of the breach it had not comprehended the reasoning behind the directions hearing and therefore taking that into account and, in order to avoid undue delay and further costs, he granted relief from sanction.

An appeal was made by the Appellant against relief from sanction under CPR 3.9. which Justice Sweeney in the Appeal Court dismissed. He upheld the relief from sanctions granted by HHJ Lochrane under the principles in Mitchell and further referred to the principles laid down in the case of Denton v TH White Ltd (2014). He observed that the Respondent’s failure to attend was serious but that it did not affect the Appellant’s case as this was in a state of disorder and an adjournment had been sought by them.

He observed that HHJ Lochrane’s reasons for granting relief were justified in that the Respondent did not understand the reasons why the directions were linked to both proceedings although he noted that the Respondent was aware that it should have attended the directions.

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