The Court of Appeal’s decision in the high-profile Mitchell “plebgate” case last November introduced tough new guidance on the approach the court should follow in granting relief from sanctions for breach of a rule or court order. The case generated a storm of controversy as well as huge amounts of satellite litigation, with litigants seeking to hold their opponents to account for minor failures in the hopes of gaining tactical advantage in the litigation.

In an effort to ease these difficulties, the Court of Appeal replaced the Mitchell guidance with a new, more flexible three-stage test in a decision handed down on 4 July in three appeals (Denton v TH White Ltd, Decadent Vapours Ltd v Bevan, Utilise TDS Ltd v Davies [2014] EWCA Civ 906). James Farrell and Maura McIntosh have published an article in PLC Magazine which considers the new test and its practical implications: “Mitchell guidance clarified: an end to the roller coaster ride?” Click here to download a PDF.