One of the lesser publicised finding in Lord Justice Jackson's report on the Civil Justice system (the Jackson Report) was that 'courts have become too tolerant of delays and non-compliance with orders', which attitude he believes has damaged the civil justice system.
A number of recent cases appear to suggest that the Courts have taken note. While this may be good for the civil justice system, it does pose heightened risks for solicitors - and their insurers. Missed time limits are one of the most common causes of claims against the profession, according to Lockton statistics recently released. Perhaps unsurprisingly, timebar claims account for close to 50% of all claims arising from litigation work.
What at first appears to be an easily avoidable administrative error is not always quite as straightforward or obvious as it may seem. It is essential that, in addition to effective diary systems, firms use suitably qualified staff with relevant experience to undertake work, and, particularly where the fee-earner concerned may lack experience, that there are adequate checks and balances in place - which can take the form of supervision, file reviews, or case-management systems by way of example.
You can read more about the recent cases concerning timebar on the Law Gazette news pages. If you are concerned about the risk of timebar claims against your own practice, or simply want to discuss effective risk mitigation strategies in more detail, contact our Risk Manager, Calum MacLean.