I was instructed to act for a Claimant in an application to set aside judgment in a counterclaim. The application notice was fully filled in apart from box 6, the question which asks, “How long do you think the hearing will last?”
The notice of hearing made no mention of an estimated length of hearing. The respondent filed witness evidence and the applicant filed further evidence. There were a total of 4 witness statements and in addition, both parties prepared Skeleton Arguments.
On the day of the hearing, it was found that the Court had listed the matter for 20 minutes.
The Judge had immediate concern that 20 minutes was not long enough and that the hearing had been listed on an administrative basis and there was simply not enough to deal with the matter. The matter was adjourned with a new ELH of 90 minutes.
Respondent’s Counsel requested wasted costs stating that the reason for the adjournment was because the applicant had failed to fill out the application correctly by failing to put an estimate of time. I submitted that the reason for the adjournment was not the fault of the applicant and it was incumbent upon both parties to assist the Court by giving an appropriate estimate of time. Further, the Notice of Hearing did not provide a time estimate and that no one could have known the Court would have listed the matter for 20 minutes.
The Judge stated that primary responsibility for giving a time estimate was with the applicant. The Defendant had no input in the listing and the reason for adjournment was lack of time. Had the applicant put a time estimate on their application, the Court may not have listed it for 20 minutes but in line with the estimate. The primary reason for the adjournment was due to the conduct of the applicant. She therefore ordered the applicant to pay the respondent’s wasted costs of the hearing, being £400.00.
It is very important that any opportunity to assist the Court should be taken and that includes fully filling in an application notice. This is in line with the overriding objective and concerns the allotting to a case an appropriate share of the court’s resources. In accordance with Rule 1.3, the parties are required to help the Court to further the overriding objective.