Bishop & Sewell
Flower

Courts are very reluctant to adjourn hearings particularly a final hearing/trial. If you need to request an adjournment a formal application should be made as soon as possible.

A formal application (form N244) requesting an adjournment has to be issued at the court. There will be a court fee to pay and you will need to provide witness evidence in support. This would normally be done by way of a formal witness statement attaching any relevant evidence to it such as medical reports or medical appointment cards.

You should also contact the opposing party with full details of why you need an adjournment to see if they will agree. Even if they agree you will still need to make an application to court, however you will only need to persuade the court why an adjournment is necessary.

The court will consider the application based on the facts and the reason why an adjournment has been requested. It may also take into account how far in advance of the hearing the application has been made (the earlier the better) and any prejudice it may cause the other party.

Where there are medical reasons for the request you will need to provide medical evidence to support the request. For example, if you were about to undergo cancer treatment you would need to have a letter or similar from a medical professional which would need to detail the treatment, why they consider you cannot attend court and when they consider you would be fit to attend a hearing.

The court may also wish to explore alternative options such a remote hearing so you would not need to travel to the court.

If the court is minded to grant an adjournment it will need to consider who pays the costs of the application. These may rest with the applicant as it has requested the adjournment or the court may say that costs are in the case. This means that whoever is ultimately found to be liable for costs of the proceedings will also pay the costs of the application. It would be unusual to obtain a costs order that the other side pays the costs of the application unless it had acted unreasonably.

The court is likely to refuse a request for an adjournment if the application was made late in the day, as it would waste the court’s time and resources.

Conclusion

If there is a genuine need for the hearing to be adjourned, the application needs to be made early to avoid wasted costs for all the parties and wasting the court’s time. The other side’s consent should also be requested.

 

Contact our Litigation & Dispute Resolution Teams

Tatsiana Rao is a Solicitor in the Litigation & Dispute Resolution team. Should you require any further advice or assistance, please contact us at litigation@bishopandsewell.co.uk or call her, on 0207 7079 2410.

 The above is accurate as at 10 April 2024. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case by case basis.



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