Testing the case against the judgments in Mitchell and Denton, Lord Justice Jackson held: 'It is not possible to classify the defendant’s breach as anything other than significant and serious.’

The Court of Appeal heard that during the three months the defendant’s solicitors were given to comply, the solicitor assigned to the case was called away with personal difficulties.

Jackson LJ would have been "strongly inclined" to grant the defendant relief from sanctions had the defendant applied for relief at the same time (or very soon after) it filed its Pre-Trial Checklist. The claimant might (and should) have consented to a prompt relief application. However, the defendant failed to apply for relief until a week after default judgment was issued, by which time the trial date had been lost. This delay was critical and consequently relief was refused.

The clear message is: delay at your peril.