The Denton Test and Relief from Sanctions:

Denton (Denton v TH White [2014] EWCA Civ 906) provides a three-stage test for applications for relief from sanctions:

  1. The court should assess the seriousness and significance of non-compliance with orders.
  2. The court should consider the reasons for the default; and
  3. The court should take into consideration all of the circumstances of the case for the purpose of justice.

In a recent case, Khandanpour (Khandanpour v Chambers [2019] EWCA Civ 570), the court of appeal seemingly took a two stage approach for (a):

  1. there must be a breach of prior orders
  2. and a further breach of an unless order

Some Authorities:

Ahmed Abdulla v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2014] EWHC 4052 (QB) – Failed to pay court fees and failed to file pretrial checklist and failed to prepare trial bundle, which led to the loss of trial window.

  1. The serious breach with significant procedural consequences i.e. loss of trial window
  2. No good reason
  3. Persistent failures by C on previous occasions


Relief granted- Appeal Dismissed in [2015] EWCA Civ 1260.

“[43] On its merits, I have not found this an easy application. In my judgment, the behaviour of the Claimants’ solicitors is worthy of real criticism: I agree with Mr Thomas that at times they appear to have failed to understand the rudimentary requirements of being a litigation solicitor, including their duties to the court and their obligation to comply with rules and orders and promptly so. On the other hand, this case is now all but ready for trial; and, as I have indicated, this case is not an insubstantial one. The assessment of the Claimants’ solicitor – no doubt rough and ready, and no doubt contentious – is that the claim might be worth in excess of £400,000. In any event, in the circumstances of the incident that led to this action, it is clear that the substantive claim is a serious one.

[44] Although I have found this to be a fine judgment, in my view, the balance is in favour of the case not being struck out now but being allowed to proceed, albeit on terms.”

Some other similar cases:

Decadent Vapours v Bevan & Salter [2014] EWCA Civ 906

Deoranee Boodia v Volodymry Yatsyna [2021] EWCA Civ 1705

Categories: Lal Akhter

About the Author

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Lal Akhter

Lal Akhter is the chief executive of DocketLive. He read law at the University of Leicester and completed his post-graduate diploma in barristers training from the BPP University and subsequently called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn. He also holds another undergraduate degree in Mathematics and a master's in computer science. He writes on topics of civil procedure rules, expert witnesses, costs, and various other topics. He can be reached at or through his LinkedIn profile.