In  Patterson -v- Spencer [2014] EWHC 1878 (Ch) Henry Carr QC (sitting as a High Court Judge) refused an appellant’s application for relief from sanctions after she failed to file transcripts of the initial hearing.


One of the defendants, acting in person,  appealed an order that they be debarred from defending a claim brought by a Trustee in Bankruptcy that a property had been transferred at an undervalue/was a transaction defrauding creditors. On the 16th January 2014 an order was made that the appeal bundle (including a transcript) be filed within 28 days. A bundle was filed which did not include the transcript. A subsequent order was made that the transcripts be filed by the 21st March or the appeal struck out. The transcripts were not filed and the appeal was struck out.

The defendant applied for relief from sanctions.


The judge found that there had been a long history of default and delay.  He was suspicious of the the defendant’s explanations for the failure in the current case.  He found that:

  • Following Mitchell the specific considerations in CPR 3.9 had to be regarded as of paramount importance.
  • The particular default could not be viewed in isolation. It was part of a course of conduct where the court had granted the defendant numerous indulgences which had resulted in adjournments, wasted court time and increased costs to the Trustee.
  • This was one more instance of default by the defendant who had demonstrated a persistent failure to comply with the rules of court.
  • They delay was regarded by the defendant as an end in itself. It could not be allowed to continue.
  • It was not unjust to deny the defendant relief from sanctions.
  • To grant relief would promote the “culture of delay and non-compliance”.
  • He was not satisfied that a consideration of the merits of the appeal was appropriate on an application for relief from sanctions.  However the Grounds of Appeal were not persuasive and he would not have granted permission to appeal.
  • The application for relief from sanctions was refused.