Following the case of Mitchell v News Group, the Courts have taken a very strict view indeed to failure to comply with Court directions. This appears to be loosening somewhat.
Firstly we would refer the reader to the article on the Nearly Legal Housing Law Website – This is what we always meant and especially the piece concerning the amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules on 5th June 2014 – see the article at:-
The piece on Nearly Legal also refers to the Judgment of Jackson LJ (yes, that Jackson!) in Hallam Estates Limited v Baker  EWCA Civ 661. In terms of the amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules, Rule 3.8 (4) will now read:-
(4) In the circumstances referred to in paragraph (3) and unless the Court orders otherwise, the time for doing the act in question may be extended by prior written agreement of the parties for up to a maximum of 28 days, provided always that any such extension does not put at risk any hearing date.