Periodically I write reminders of the importance of being able to calculate time periods correctly. Sometime a miscalculation can lead to fundamental problems.
AN EXAMPLE OF MISCALCULATION
In Evans v Pinsent Masons LLP  EWHC 2150 (QB) Mr Justice Martin Spencer overturned a decision granting relief from sanctions. A major issue arose out of confusion by the claimant’s solicitors over the calculation of the time period.
The claimant brought an action for the assessment of costs. For some of those costs to be assessed the claimant had to show “exceptional circumstances”. The costs judge found that there were not exceptional circumstances. The claimant appealed but permission to appeal was refused on the papers, with a provision that the claimant could apply for an oral hearing of the application for permission within seven days of service upon them. The claimant received notice on the 21st May 2019, the application was made on the 30th May. Nicol J then made a without notice order granting relief from sanction and extending the claimant’s time to request permission to appeal. The defendant applied to set aside that without notice order. The defendant was successful.
THE DEFENDANT POINTS THIS OUT
The application was made late, this was pointed out by the defendant.
The appellant’s application to renew her application for permission was made out of time and it is thus invalid. We have today spoken to the appellant’s solicitors seeking clarification, but did not receive an explanation of the appellant’s position”.
Pinsent Mason made reference to the Rules in the Civil Procedure Rules for calculation of time periods and pointed out that by Rule 2.8, the period of seven days should be calculated as expiring on 28 May. They said:
“The appellant’s letter mentions the Bank Holiday, but even if this day is added, the application remains a day late. In any event, Rule 2.8(4) provides that the Bank Holiday is only excluded from the computation where the specified period is five days or less. As a result, the appellant’s application is two days late”.
CALCULATION OF TIME – THE RULES
CPR Part 2.
(1) This rule shows how to calculate any period of time for doing any act which is specified –
(a) by these Rules;
(b) by a practice direction; or
(c) by a judgment or order of the court.
(2) A period of time expressed as a number of days shall be computed as clear days.
(3) In this rule ‘clear days’ means that in computing the number of days –
(a) the day on which the period begins; and
(b) if the end of the period is defined by reference to an event, the day on which that event occurs
are not included.
(i) Notice of an application must be served at least 3 days before the hearing.
An application is to be heard on Friday 20 October.
The last date for service is Monday 16 October.
(ii) The court is to fix a date for a hearing.
The hearing must be at least 28 days after the date of notice.
If the court gives notice of the date of the hearing on 1 October, the earliest date for the hearing is 30 October.
(iii) Particulars of claim must be served within 14 days of service of the claim form.
The claim form is served on 2 October.
The last day for service of the particulars of claim is 16 October.
(4) Where the specified period –
(a) is 5 days or less; and
(b) includes –
(i) a Saturday or Sunday; or
(ii) a Bank Holiday, Christmas Day or Good Friday,
that day does not count.
Notice of an application must be served at least 3 days before the hearing.
An application is to be heard on Monday 20 October.
The last date for service is Tuesday 14 October.
(5) Subject to the provisions of Practice Direction 5C, when the period specified –
(a) by these Rules or a practice direction; or
(b) by any judgment or court order,
for doing any act at the court office ends on a day on which the office is closed, that act shall be in time if done on the next day on which the court office is open.
Dates for compliance to be calendar dates and to include time of day
(1) Where the court gives a judgment, order or direction which imposes a time limit for doing any act, the last date for compliance must, wherever practicable –
(a) be expressed as a calendar date; and
(b) include the time of day by which the act must be done.
(2) Where the date by which an act must be done is inserted in any document, the date must, wherever practicable, be expressed as a calendar date.
Meaning of ‘month’ in judgments, etc.
2.10 Where ‘month’ occurs in any judgment, order, direction or other document, it means a calendar month.”
This stuff is so important…when it’s important. It can’t hurt to calculate the deadlines a few times.