Morwenna represented the Respondent, in an application to set aside a default costs certificate in the sum of £293k obtained following a failure to serve points of dispute within the extended period granted to the Kavumas following their son’s serious illness. This case raised important issues as to the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the application, and the inter-relation of the factors set out in CPR 47.12 / para 11 of PD47, and the Denton principles applying to relief from sanctions applications. Further significant points raised included how far the Kavumas could rely upon their unfortunate personal circumstances (which included the death of their son) as being a “good reason” for not having applied sooner, and the extent to which they could excuse their defaults because they were litigants in person.
The court held that it had jurisdiction to hear the application, and dismissed the application, holding that promptness was an important issue that should be considered before the three-stage Denton principles; that whilst there might have been good reason for the initial delay, it could not explain all of it; and that there are limits as to the extent that the courts would take into account that they were acting in person.
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