Appeal from bankruptcy order

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When applying for permission to appeal the bankrupt was obliged to provide a transcript of the earlier hearing and an appeal bundle. Successive applications were made to extend the time to do this, leading the court to make an order that unless the bundle and transcript were filed by 17 July 2020, the intended appeal would be struck out without further order.

The bankrupt made a further application on 16 July 2020 to extend the time to provide the transcript and the appeal bundle. However, the court decided that as that application was not supported by any evidence for the delay it should be dismissed. The bankrupt then made an application to set aside that dismissal, which itself was dismissed. Further permission to appeal was given limited to the question of whether the explanations in the application of 16 July 2020 should have been sufficient to prevent the ‘unless’ order taking effect.

That further appeal failed primarily because an appeal court is very reluctant to interfere with the case management discretion of lower courts unless the judge has misdirected himself in law, failed to take relevant factors into account or has taken into account irrelevant factors, or made a decision that is plainly wrong and outside the ambit of discretion where reasonable decision-makers may disagree.

Colin George Watts v HMRC [2021] EWCA Civ 1124

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