DON'T BANK ON BEING ABLE TO ADDUCE EXPERT EVIDENCE THREE WEEKS BEFORE TRIAL

The case of Warners Retail Ltd -v- National Westminster Bank (Rose J 09/06/2014) is briefly reported on Lawtel this morning. It concerns the applicability of the Mitchell principles and the overriding objective to a very late application to adduce expert evidence.

THE ACTION

The claimant was bringing an action against two bans alleging negligent advice in relation to interest rate swaps. The trial was due in three weeks time.

THE CLAIMANT’S APPLICATION TO ADDUCE EXPERT EVIDENCE

The claimant made an application to adduce expert evidence. It was agreed that if the evidence were allowed the trial would have to be adjourned.

THE JUDGE’S DECISION: THE OVERRIDING OBJECTIVE

The claimant argued that the Mitchell principles did not apply because it was not seeking relief from sanctions under CPR 3.9.  However the judge held:

  • It was not necessary to determine how far the Mitchell principles applied.
  • This was because the overriding objective under CPR 1.1 pointed strongly to the application being refused.
  • Allowing a long-standing trial date to be adjourned in the circumstances would be the antithesis of dealing with an action expeditiously and fairly.
  • Adjourning the trial date would cause disruption to other court users.
  • There was no good reason for the claimant’s delay in making the application.
  • The application was refused.