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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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What happens if a defendant ignores a judges directions

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What happens if a defendant ignores a judges directions completely - does the trial need to be delayed
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: England
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: Court has set trial date and issued directions for defendant to get his expert to meet with mine to agree areas of dispute. Def has not instructed his expert to do so and date specified by court for this has now past. Trial date was wednesday this week and I am told a new trial date will be given but i dont understand why
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just is it correct that a defendent can ignore directions with non adverse consequence

Hello, this is Jim and I am a dual-qualified lawyer (UK and Republic of Ireland) and happy to help you today.

If a party ignores directions they are in breach of a court order, so they need to apply for relief from sanction. The court can strike out their case if they do not comply but usually it takes the other party to make the application (to get the defence struck out). The trial does not need to go ahead if the claimant applies to strike out - if it was my case I would now make an application. I do not know why a new trial date will be given in these circumstances - normally the courts take breach of the directions very seriously. Though it takes the other party to bring those breaches to the court's attention. Do you want details of how to apply to strike out?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I would appreciate knowing how to do that. They did submit a defence but then requested permission for an expert report which was provided but since then ignored the courts direction that the experts should meet to agree areas of concurrence and difference prior to trial.

Thanks, ***** ***** the only direction breached? I will outline the procedure. They are in breach and they should have asked you for an extension of time.

I recommend that you tell the defendant that the are to arrange a date within 7 days otherwise you will apply to strike out the defence. The issue is that their default has had a knock-on effect with the trial date. I recommend you give them 7 days to comply (if you do not you may be criticised by the judge for simply making an application without notice to the defendant).

I now attach the application form (N244) and a statement/draft order.

You would need 3 copies of the above to go to the court with a fee of £255 payable to HMCTS - the fee is recoverable if your application succeeds. If the trial is close then possibly the court will list the hearing for your application before the trial starts.

With the application if you have any questions please let me know - I am happy to clarify anything.

I hope this helps – if you can please give a positive rating by clicking 5 stars (at the top of your screen), I can answer any follow up questions at no extra charge and I will be credited for helping you today.

Many thanks,

Jim

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