Ropac Ltd v Inntrepreneur Pub Co and Another: ChD 7 Jun 2000

There had been a consent order in the terms of an unless order giving the landlord an order for possession unless the tenant paid sums by a certain date, time being of the essence. The order was not complied with and the tenant applied for a retrospective extension of time to comply with the order.
Held: The court retained the power to grant an order for extension of time even though the parties had previously agreed the terms of an ‘unless’ consent order and it had expressed time to be of the essence. The court’s case management powers had to be read in the light of the overriding objective as expressed in the Rules. Under the RSC the order in the case before him was in sufficiently clear terms to be a binding consent order with which the court would only have interfered in circumstances which would justify interference with a contract. Under the CPR however, the court had jurisdiction to extend time: ‘To my mind, the CPR therefore gives the Court rather more wide- ranging, more flexible powers than the RSC. In my judgment, those powers are to be exercised not merely to do justice between the parties, but in the wider public interest. Further, the objective to deal with a case justly must, as I see it, sometimes (albeit rarely) require the court to override an agreement made between the parties in the course of, and in connection with, the litigation. I consider that this means that the court has greater power to interfere than before. Having said that, I should add this. Where the parties have agreed in clear terms on a certain course, then, while that does not take away its power to extend time, the court should, when considering an application to extend time, place very great weight on what the parties have agreed and should be slow, save in unusual circumstances, to depart from what the parties have agreed.’
Neuberger J set out the process he had to apply to to extend time in respect of a consent order. He said at: ‘First, at least in general, if the order was a genuine consent order, that is representing a contractual agreement between the parties, and stated that, if a party did not do something within a specified time, then his claim or defence would be struck out or that there would be some other sanction, that represented a contract with which the court had no power to interfere, save in circumstances in which the court has power to interfere with a contract. That seems to me to be the effect of the judgments in Purcell v FC Trigell Limited [1971] 1 QB 359 – see at 365G per Winn LJ and 366D per Buckley LJ .’
Neuberger J
Times 21-Jun-2000, Gazette 29-Jun-2000, [2001] LandTR 10
Civil Procedure Rules 81
England and Wales
CitedPurcell v F C Trigell Ltd CA 1971
The court will not interfere with an existing consent order, save in circumstances in which it could interfere with a contract as a matter of substantive law. A consent order derives its authority from the contract made between the parties. . .
CitedSiebe Gorman and Co Limited v Pneupac Limited CA 1982
Lord Denning MR discussed the meaning of ‘consent order’ saying: ‘There are two meaning to the words ‘by consent’. One meaning is this: the words ‘by consent’ may evidence a real contract between the parties. In such a case the court will only . .
CitedTigner Welsh London Company Limited v Spiro 1992
. .

Cited by:
CitedDi Placito v Slater and others CA 19-Dec-2003
The parties had earlier compromised their dispute, with the claimant undertaking not to lodge any further claim unless he did so within a certain time. They now sought to commence action.
Held: When considering whether to discharge such an . .
CitedThe Secretary of State for Trade and Industry v Jonkler and Another ChD 10-Feb-2006
The applicant had given an undertaking to the court to secure discontinuance of company director disqualification procedings. He now sought a variation of the undertaking.
Held: The claimant had given an undertaking, but in the light of new . .
CitedWeston v Dayman CA 7-Jun-2006
The Court considered the interpretation of a consent order on an application to vary its terms. The terms were incorporated within a consent order. It was argued that the variation could be based on CPR 3.1(7) which provides that the Court has power . .
CitedCommunity Care North East (A Partnership) v Durham County Council QBD 29-Apr-2010
The parties had settled their dispute and sealed it in a Tomlin Order. The court now asked as to its power to vary such an order. The order required the defendant to reopen a tendering process, but other tenderers now objected, and the council felt . .
CitedWatson v Sadiq and Another CA 16-Jul-2013
The appellant and defendant said that the agreement compromising their action, and embodied within a Tomlin schedule, had been reached by duress and was vitiated. He said that the Recorder had exercised undue influence in advising the need for a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 October 2021; Ref: scu.88860