Advocacy Manager Pete Blackmore notes the recent decision in Redbourn Group Ltd v. Fair Development Ltd [2017] EWHC 1223 (TTC).

In Mr Justice Coulson’s judgment in Redbourn Group Ltd v. Fair Development Ltd [2017] EWHC 1223 (TTC) he clarifies the interplay between CPR 13.3 and 3.9, highlighting the Court of Appeal’s decision in Gentry v Miller [2016] EWCA Civ 141.

Noting that “there is no greater sanction than judgment being entered in default of a defence, and no more important relief from sanction than being able to set aside that judgment” Mr Justice Coulson confirms that CPR 3.9 and the “Denton Test” are relevant to any application under CPR 13.3. Mr Justice Coulson found that, before setting aside the judgment, the Court needed to firstly have regard to CPR 13.3 and then (if the applicant satisfied those requirements) the Court should consider the 3 stage “Denton Test”.

Furthermore, when considering CPR 13.3(2), the requirements for the Court to have regard to include the promptness of the application to set aside: Mr Justice Coulson noted that it was artificial to only consider the time between judgment being entered and judgment being set aside (5 days in this case); regard was had as well to the 3 and a half months between the last day a defence could have been filed and that date a draft defence was presented.

The judgment is a significant one as it will almost inevitably make it more difficult for those seeking to set aside a default judgment to succeed.