In Tibbles v SIG Plc [2012] 1 WLR 2591 the Court of Appeal established what is known as the “Tibbles Criteria” setting out three scenarios whereby the court would usually exercise its discretion to set aside or vary an order in applications under rule 3.1(7) of the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”).

The court considered applications for relief from sanctions under CPR 3.1(7) and it was held that any application under CPR 3.1(7) usually requires any of the following:

(i) where there had been a material change of circumstances since the order was made; 

(ii) where the facts on which the original decision was made had been misstated; or 

(iii) where there had been a manifest mistake on the part of the judge in formulating the order.

The Court emphasised the need to act promptly in making an application for it to exercise its discretion in varying or setting aside an order, citing that:

Thus it may well be that there is room within CPR 3.1(7) for a prompt recourse back to a court to deal with a matter which ought to have been dealt with in an order but which in genuine error was overlooked (by parties and the court) and which the purposes behind the overriding objective, above all the interests of justice and the efficient management of litigation, would favour giving proper consideration to on the materials already before the court. This would not be a second consideration of something which had already been considered once (as would typically arise in a change of circumstances situation), but would be giving consideration to something for the first time”

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Tibbles v SIG Plc [2012] 1 WLR 2591 – The full PDF judgment