The recent decision in Lalana Hans Place Limited v Michael Barclay Partnership LLP [2017] EWHC 29 (TCC) provides guidance on factors the Court will take into account when considering to refuse an application on the basis of lateness. 

The factors were taken into account by the Judge were:-

1. Was the issue relevant to the fair disposition of the trial (if such, the Judge indicated that  he would not refuse it simply on the grounds of delay); and

2. Would the application, and any work resulting from that application, jeopardise the trial or place an unfair burden on the other party so close to trial.  The Judge felt that this would be a reason for refusing the application. However, on the other hand if it went to an important issue and would be dealt with "comfortably" before trial then it should be allowed. 

The Judge determined that the information was potentially relevant to the issues in dispute. In addition, the Judge determined that the Claimant could deal with the request comfortably as part of its ongoing preparations for trial. He noted that "It is slightly ironic, but not uncommon in applications of this kind, that a good deal of the work to be done in answering the request...had already been done in the detailed witness statement ...and skeleton argument". 

The other issues argued before the Court covered whether the information sought as part of a Request for Further Information was privileged. The Judge did not deal with this issue during this hearing.

What this recent decision shows is that making an application close to trial is not fatal to prospects of success. Delay will always be a factor, however this will be weighed up against the Court's priority to ensure that all issues relevant to a fair disposition of the trial are brought before the trial Judge.