This case concerns the defendant’s failure to comply with an unless order for disclosure. At the first hearing, an application for relief from sanctions was refused.
The defendants made a second relief from sanctions application, which took up four of the five days allocated to the trial. That second application was allowed.
The claimant then appealed. The Court of Appeal refused to grant the defendant relief from sanctions.
This case reaffirms the rigorous approach the Court of Appeal is taking towards relief from sanctions applications. It also provides clear guidance on the proper form of any second relief from sanction application.
In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeal considered the correct application of CPR 3.1(7) and CPR 3.9.
It concluded that the deputy judge had been wrong in holding that “a second application for relief from sanction could be made under CPR 3.9 without needing to rely on CPR 3.1(7) and that CPR 3.1(7) had no more than a secondary role”.
Before making a second application for relief, parties should ask themselves whether the conditions (set out in Tibbles v SIG plc  EWCA Civ 518) for varying or revoking an order are made out. Parties will not be allowed a ‘second bite of the cherry’ and relief from sanctions will be given sparingly.
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