Unless orders are a form of conditional order which state that unless a party complies with a procedural order by a particular date, their statements of case are liable to be struck out without the need for a further order.
The strike out occurs automatically upon the party’s failure to comply with the unless order. Accordingly, the consequences of failure to comply with an unless order are severe for the party in default.
The court’s authority to make such orders arises from a combination of two provisions in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (“CPR”).
CPR 3.1 | The court’s general powers of management
(3) When the court makes an order, it may –
(a) make it subject to conditions, including a condition to pay a sum of money into court; and
(b) specify the consequence of failure to comply with the order or a condition.
CPR 3.4 | Power to strike out a statement of case
(2) The court may strike out a statement of case if it appears to the court –
(a) that the statement of case discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending the claim;
(b) that the statement of case is an abuse of the court’s process or is otherwise likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings; or
(c) that there has been a failure to comply with a rule, practice direction or court order.