By: 25 February 2014

Claimant lawyers should not get too hopeful that the change to standard directions, allowing parties to agree a 28-day extension to time limits without the need for court approval, will mean a change to the Jackson/Mitchell principles.


The warning has come from defendant lawyer Simon Denyer, a strategic legal development partner with DWF.


Denyer was reported by Litigation Futures to have said that judges "up and down the land" had started using the buffer orders and that the extension could become normal practice.


The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has yet to decide whether or not the extension should become a general change to model or standard directions. As it stands, it only applies to clinical negligence cases.


“What this news is not however is ‘a major policy change and a major blow to the Jackson/Mitchell courts’ as has been claimed in some claimant quarters," said Denyer.


"Those ‘Jackson/Mitchell principles’, which in turn lead to the need for careful procedural planning in all cases, remain in place.


“The challenges and opportunities which Mitchell gives rise to remain intact, and it will be a failure of planning to think that this news leads us to any other position. If claimant commentators think that there will be any indirect softening of the Jackson approach as a result of this news, then we will have to await any evidence of that.”