Last week I received a request from the solicitors for one of the parties in an adjudication to have more time to serve a submission. What made this request stand out was the reasons given, “because of the riots”. It isn’t a common reason, I’m pleased to say.
Of itself, a request for more time is not unusual. Such requests come in quite regularly from the parties or their representatives. It is a question of natural justice really.
I dealt with this request just like I would deal with a request with reasons citing illness or absence (or any other reasonable request). Initially I look to see whether I can accommodate the request within the existing timetable. If not, and I think that I will not be able to reach my decision in a procedurally fair manner, I ask the parties for more time. Ultimately, if one party fails to grant an extension, the sanction is to resign, but that is not an attractive option for anyone.
On this occasion, the extension was granted. It would be a hard party that refused such a request in light of the rioting. Thankfully London (and everywhere else) is no longer burning.