In the Matter of Santos-Albert v. Ochi  EWHC 1277 (Ch), Mr Justice Snowden considered whether amendments made by District Judge Fine to a final charging order had been within the scope of her powers under CPR 40.12 (the “Slip Rule”). Under an order of 8th April 2015, the Defendant had been ordered to pay £5,000 in damages and two-thirds of the Claimant’s costs to be assessed on the standard basis, with an interim payment of £10,000. The original charging order referred to a sum of £15,000, representing the damages and interim payment towards costs. Upon receipt of the order, the Claimant’s solicitors requested an amendment as they understood that “all sums” under the order of 8th April 2015 were to be secured by the charge – the costs under the order at that time had been provisionally assessed in a figure exceeding £40,000, creating a difference of approximately £30,0000.
District Judge Fine amended her order in accordance with the Claimant’s solicitor’s request. The Defendant appealed, arguing that the Slip Rule did not allow the Court to make substantial or substantive amendments to orders.
Mr Justice Snowdon opined that the purpose of the Slip Rule was not to allow the Court to have second thoughts about an order, but to amend it to give effect to the Court’s true intention and that there ought to have been some accidental error or omission. Having analysed the case, Mr Justice Snowdon was satisfied that the amended order was consistent with District Judge Fine’s judgment at the final charging order hearing.