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Would you say that my lack of knowledge and understanding of the procedures is a good enough reason for the judge to use her discretion in this case?
Its not the best reason I'm afraid. The Courts will allow some leeway for lay persons conducting litigation in person. However not understanding the procedure is not a particularly attractive explanation. But serving the statement albeit late and explaining the delay in service by the defendant will enable the Court to exercise its discretion under the CPR. If the statement has been served well in advance of a substantive hearing and the other side has been give plenty of notice - that will go in your favour. Also if the statement deals with issues which have already been addressed (so no new issues) then that will also help. The relevant CPR rules are: CPR 1.1(2) The Court has a duty to deal with cases justly CPR 3.1(2)(a) The Court has power to extend or shorten time for compliance (even if an application is made after the time for compliance has passed) Alex