Sam Phillips and Taylor Blair successful in High Court appeal clarifying the test for interpretation of sequential orders

27th June 2024

Sam Phillips, leading Taylor Blair, successfully resisted the appeal of an order of HHJ Luba KC on a point of judicial interpretation. Soole, J, who had granted permission to appeal, was asked to consider the extent to which a Circuit Judge was able to interpret the meaning of his own order some months after the same had been drawn and crucially, whether the content of the later order could, by inference, displace the obligation to file witness statements as set out an earlier directions order, without expressly stating that the obligation was discharged, even when the directions order contained an automatic sanction for non-compliance.

Mr Justice Soole agreed with the Respondents’ submissions that the content of the later order forced the conclusion that compliance with the extant directions order was not required and that the intention of the Court was to case manage matters afresh, meaning there was no need to consider relief from sanctions under CPR 3.9. The Court provided further guidance on the material that can properly be used to interpret orders and the weight that should be given to judicial comments made after the drawing of an order.

Taylor Blair successfully argued for the payment of Respondents clients’ costs by the Appellant.

The matter has been remitted to the County Court for trial.

Sam and Taylor were instructed by Lindsay Felstead of Clarke Willmott.

A link to the reported case will follow.