A solicitor who failed to comply with a judge’s order to provide documents to the court has been refused permission to appeal.

The case highlights the importance of professionals meeting all court deadlines if they are to successfully defend themselves.
Nancy Ballard a sole practitioner with David Solicitors LLP was ordered to pay her former clients over £20,000 in costs and damages in a landlord-tenancy case. She sought permission to appeal against the decision and was told by the judge to serve a skeleton argument and appeal bundle by 17 March 2014. She failed to meet the deadline and her appeal was struck out.

Mrs Ballard went on to appeal against the decision to strike out her first appeal. She gave numerous reasons for failing to comply with the judge’s order. The judge, the Honourable Mr Justice Supperstone said the solicitor showed a lack of understanding of the importance of the rules. “The fact is that Ms Ballard had deliberately decided not to comply with the practice direction and the ‘unless’ order because she considered that what she had done in terms of filing and serving documents for the appeal was sufficient.”

The case highlights the importance of following Court orders and meeting deadlines. “The courts expect their instructions to be met in full,” said James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professional Risks. “It doesn’t matter how strong your case may be. If you fail to meet deadlines imposed by the courts then there is every risk that your case will be thrown out. This is an important lesson for anyone defending a claim for negligence.”

Details of the case have been published by the Law Society Gazette and Civil Litigation Brief.