Last month, the Court of Appeal dealt with the case between Nata Lee Ltd and Abid & Another. Nata Lee appealed against an Order made in the Central London County Court in 2013.
Nata Lee had appeared in the County Court without legal representation and had failed to apply for permission to include an expert witness in a timely manner (three days late). The County Court judge subsequently refused to admit this witness.
Although other factors played a greater role in this case, in its judgement ( EWCA Civ 1652), the Court of Appeal made clear that, in its view, the fact that a party is acting without legal representation is no reason to allow disregard for rules, orders and directions.
Litigants in person should not be surprised by the consequences of failing to comply with the CPR or by having applications for relief from sanctions turned down when these sanctions were the result of failure to comply with the CPR on the part of the litigant in person.
Lord Justice Briggs continued:
“There may be cases in which the fact that a party is a litigant in person has some consequence in the determination of applications for relief from sanctions, but this is likely to operate at the margins.”