The solicitor for MP Andrew Mitchell has confirmed that the costs appeal case is unlikely to go to the Supreme Court.
Graham Atkins, founding partner at London firm Atkins Thomson, told the Gazette he had looked to have the case heard at the higher court but was advised it would not be successful.
Master of the rolls Lord Dyson rejected the original appeal in November and refused relief from sanctions to lawyers representing Mitchell in his libel action over the Sun’s ‘plebgate’ story.
The case was a landmark as it was the first time the Court of Appeal had ruled on stricter sanctions for non-compliance with court orders included as part of the Jackson reforms.
Atkins Thomson had failed to file its £500,000 costs budget seven days before the first case management conference.
Atkins said he was willing to take the Mitchell case further and had received support to do so from a number of solicitors.
‘We would like to bring it but we can’t see any way of getting it to the Supreme Court as it was a procedural issue rather than a point of law,’ Atkins said. ‘We’ve had a lot of support from the profession and now we have to press on and win the libel case.’
Atkins, who has previously said Mitchell will not have to bear the costs, added the libel case is likely to be in court at the start of next year.
The potential for the Mitchell case to go to the higher court was mentioned in the senior courts costs office court last month in Long v Value Properties & Anor.
The claimant firm in the case asked the court to delay a costs decision on non-compliance of an order until after any possible supreme court judgment.
Relief from sanctions was requested after the CFA and other documents were submitted five days after the date agreed with both defendants.
In his judgment, costs judge Master Rowley said he had no choice but to refuse relief from sanctions after the Mitchell case had provided judicial precedent. ‘Whilst I may have qualms about the nature of the sanction imposed for a breach of this particular provision of the CPR [civil procedure rules], I am clear that I need to take that as being the correct sanction.’