In complex litigation, late amendments are not uncommon, and used to be allowed routinely, with any prejudice being dealt with in a costs order.
This is no longer the case. In CIP Properties v Galliford Try Infrastructure  EWHC 1345 (TCC), Coulson J reviewed the authorities and set out the current position, which rather leans against late amendments, at .
Lateness is a relative concept. An amendment is “late” if it could have been advanced earlier, or if it obliges other parties to revisit steps in the litigation (for instance, raising a new issue which would require experts to produce supplemental reports). It is “very late” if it threatens the trial date, even if it is proposed several months before the trial date.
Where an amending party wants to make a late or very late amendment, it will need to have a good reason. The history of the litigation will be relevant. The Court will consider any prejudice to the other parties if the amendment is allowed. The worse the prejudice, the less likely it is to be allowed, with loss of the trial date potentially being “overwhelming”. Prejudice to the amending party if the amendment is not allowed will count for less.
Late amendments are generally to be avoided. If you need to make a late amendment to your statement of case, try to make it as tightly focused as possible – and be aware of CIP Properties.
Ross Beaton / 8th Jun 2015
The information and any commentary on the law contained on this web site is provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by any member of Chambers. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments on this site. No responsibility is accepted for the content or accuracy of linked sites.
If you like what you've read but want to know more about how we can help you, simply call us:
Alternatively you can send us an email and a member of our team will contact you as soon as possible.