There is a brief report on Lawtel today of the decision of S Monty QC in In the matter of Bankside Hotels (Ch D 13/11/2014) Relief from sanctions was granted when a party was in breach of a peremptory order and failed to reply adequately to a request for information.
The applicants issued unfair prejudice petitions and, in the course of those actions, made requests for further information. The respondent consented to an order that “a full response” to the requests would be made. Upon a failure to reply a peremptory order was made. A document was served but the applicants argued that it was defective in that it did not contain a statement of truth and did not give a full response.
- Did the failure to provide a statement of truth render the replies wholly invalid?
- Was it open to the respondents to elect to reply only to those questions they considered proper and valid?
- Should the respondents be granted relief from sanctions.
- A failure to verify the reply did not render it a nullity. It was not struck out simply because there was no statement of truth.
- The replies were clearly incomplete and insufficient. The unless order was, therefore, effective unless relief from sanctions was granted.
- The court had to apply the principles in Denton.
- The failure to reply adequately was a serious and significant default.
- It was not open to the respondent to only reply to those questions that they considered to be valid and appropriate.
- There was no good reason for the breach.
- The defaults had caused delay. However that delay would not affect the trial date.
- Relief from sanctions was granted on terms that the respondents pay the applicant’s costs on an indemnity basis.
- A further unless order was made requiring a full response within 21 days, in default of which the defence would be struck out.
- Baring some extraordinary matter the court would expect compliance.