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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H00M01S

James, a solicitor acting for a client, is involved in a claim where the court has ordered that witness statements be exchanged no later than 4.00 p.m. on 20 October. James drafts and has all witness statements signed by 15 October but forgets to deliver the copies by the deadline. The defendant's witness statements are delivered by hand to James's reception at 3.58 p.m. on 20 October, and the receptionist informs James at 4.05 p.m. In response, James hand-delivers the claimant's witness statements to the defendant at 4.45 p.m. He immediately telephones the defendant's representative to propose an extension under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR), but this is rejected. James then issues an application to the court for relief from sanctions under the CPR on 21 October. Which of the following statements best represents the position of the court in response to the application?

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Despite there being no good reason for the breach (making Options D and E incorrect), a 45-minute delay is likely to be considered trivial, and the breach did not impact any future court hearings. The court has discretion to move away from their duty to enforce rules under the overriding objective (making Option A incorrect). Given that the breach was the fault of the legal representative, it is likely that a wasted costs order would be made against James for breaching the deadline (making Option B incorrect). 

Key Point: The court has discretion to grant relief from sanctions for minor breaches that do not affect the proceedings significantly. However, solicitors may face wasted costs orders if their failure to comply causes the breach.

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