Friday, 17 December 2010

Part 36 again!

 Thanks to Gary Knight for tipping me off about HMRC V BLUE SPHERE where the Court of Appeal find that Part 36 is applicable where an offer was made in a dispute with the Commissioners of Revenue and Customs.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Part 36 and costs reform

I indicated recently that Lord Justice Jackson had ensured he sat in a case about Part 36 and costs.I now see why.In Pankhurst v Lee, just published,he describes the funding arrangements as grotesque, resulting in solicitors getting a massive return for no risk.This case could not have come at a worse time for those arguing that cfas are just.A disaster.Thanks to Simon Butler for letting me know that the decision had been released.

Mayors Court reprieved!

 The oldest court in the land is not going to close after all.There is commonsense in the MOJ after all.Thanks to super litigator Debbie Morgan for the tip -off and well done Monty Trent for keeping calm throughout the period of uncertainty.

Thursday, 9 December 2010


 The Court of Appeal has unsurpisingly refused leave to appeal in the nuclear test veterans case and has ordered that the massive payment of costs on account be returned,with interest,to the MOD.I do not think the Supreme Court will ever grant leave to appeal.

Jackson-it is not over yet!

 As i pointed out in my comments on reform the Government did indicate that there was a possibility ,albeit slight,that the abolition of recoverability might not occur.In Whitehall this month  civil servants are asking for hard statistical evidence to justify allowing some degree of recovery to survive.Saying that it is not fair is worthless.Practitioners need to put cases and examples to their MP to prove the point.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

In house training

Nicholas Bevan is the main man when it comes to both disease and road traffic litigation updates.I cannot think of anyone better qualified to deliver sophisticated training in these areas.A google search will take you to him.
 I am still flat -out on Part 36 and mainstream CPR developments.

Friday, 3 December 2010

That photo!

 Alongside,you see Ron 'killer' Thwaites QC, the king of cross-examination,with myself, His Honour Michael Cook and Sir Rupert Jackson who kindly agreed to come to the Cook book launch  as a surprise guest but point blank refused to jump out of a large cake.And after all i have done for him. Next year i will ask Nicola..

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Insurance in portal cases

Thanks to Ruth Graham of Berrymans who tells me that there is to be a test case heard in Liverpool as to what level of premium is justified under the 2010 rta portal scheme. There is no costs risk in stage 1 or 2 and a limited sum at stake in stage 3.Many claimants are incurring a premium of about £400, a figure i would have thought unlikely to be upheld ,particularly as the word of the moment is proportionality.

9 Gough Square

Stuart is a dad ;lucky baby Theo.
His clerk ,Michael Goodridge,is so efficent.i mentioned an article in a talk yesterday and within 10 minutes he sent a copy of it to the solicitor who requested it.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The season 2011

 I and my closest professional friends (Nicola,TeresaErica,Simons Butler and Brown,Daddy Jones and Nicola) have amassed invites already to the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show,the Royal Enclosure at Ascot,Glyndebourne Opera ,Henley and London fashion week in february plus Polo (wherever that is).
 The hot ticket though is the Birmingham Mercantile Court where we are likely to see guest appearances from Michael Cook,Michael Bacon and other costs wizards who want to see how case/costs control works.The extension of this in a few months means that the extravagent litigators will not be able to escape which they can now do by issuing anywhere but in Birmingham.
 A lady at a party last month owns a clothes shop called Net a Porter and she has made me an EIP whatever that means.

Case/costs management

 This Jackson initiative is going to be extended to every Mercantile and Construction court by Easter next year.This is a testament to the success of His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC in the Birmingham pilot .It is probably coincidence but this is what i recommended to Sir Rupert in my report to him.
 Michael Cook,as sharp as ever,in the new Cook (i have an advance copy) asks why limit this to Mercantile ? Why indeed?

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Jackson implementation

 The next major wave is coming in the spring,trust me.
 The world is catching up with Michael Bacon,the greatest living costs draftsman, who advocated costs management of cases 20 years ago. I remember him coming to my nursery school to give a talk about it.

Cook on Costs party

The launch party last night was wonderful.Michael Cook is held in such high esteem that it only took one call and Lord Justice Jackson agreed to attend.Sir Rupert admitted that the very first thing he did on being appointed to review costs was to read Cook,cover to cover.
 Michael,as ever,delivered a stunningly witty talk.
 Thanks to all at Ely Place including Ron Thwaites QC ,Simon Butler (tort supremo and chauffeur) and the clerks for hosting the event.
 I was impressed by HH Judge Simon Brown coming from Birmingham and Angela /Brendan coming from Ipswich until i met Liz Harris who not only came from Australia but brought me a stunning bottle from her husbands cellar.I hope he does not read this.
 The saintly Teresa Aitken took us to dinner where Paul Scrutton wore a large grin all evening for some unknown reason.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Andrea Stevenson (cough)

 My thanks to Andrea for explaining how each health authority keeps its medical records confidential.It is causing potential clinical negligence issues and i was in touch about this with Lord Young who is now taking a short break.
 Having lost my shirt after lunch with Sean Jones on tuesday i lost my trousers (literally) on wednesday.The manager was astute enough to  immediately identify the imbecile out of 100 people who had dropped half of his dry cleaning at the bar.Epernay (Manchester and Leeds) is the greatest champagne bar with the lowest prices and highest quality in England and ,paradoxically,knocks spots off anywhere in Paris.

Monday, 22 November 2010

A happy family

I was with my best friend (male) Sean Jones when he won employment barrister of the year a few weeks ago.After a morning filming today i was with him in a taxi when he learnt that the adoption of his 2 beautiful girls had been finalised.A good lunch was justified. £539-00 later we felt even happier.A great day for him and Penny.Life is good unless you do not want it to be .


The Court of Appeal has just demolished the decision of Foskett J in the test vererans litigation.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Recovering deleted material

Suppose a client told you that they had deleted all electronic material ? Assuming that they are telling you the truth can it be retrieved? Epiq (a company for which i am on a paid retainer) can resurrect every e-mail but also deleted text messages too.The future of litigation will be transformed as we move faster and deeper into electronic material.Unlike the old fashioned letter which could be ignited and truly destroyed the electronic ghost lives on.
 In January i will be talking at their London and New York hqs on what the future holds.

My blog!

We go international on monday thanks to Chrissi Jackson,the publisher. A German Judge and Australian costs expert are already followers.
 Apart from a couple of Manchester talks in December ( and my Manchester birthday party thrown by Ruth Graham with the creme of Manchester litigators attending) it is London all the way.My public talks are organised by MBL.Details on their website .
 Following my list of top barristers i will shortly produce a few names in the medical field.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Lord Young

 It is amazing that he bites the dust on the same day that the Spectator magazine today declares him to be Peer of the year.I do not think that his resignation will prevent his plans from being pushed forward.He has already drawn the blueprint for reform.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Lunch of the year

 If in London and willing to push the boat out then The Square,with the best white burgundy list in europe,is the place to go.I was taken by Jill Robinson who wanted to pursuade me to go and talk for her for an hour in New York on february 1st.Bag packed.
 I may be on Guardian letters page tomorrow ;champagne not law. Paul Scrutton is a reliable man.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Government consultation on Jackson.

It is out and you have until St Valentines day to respond.I am writing an 800 word critique which will be in the New Law Journal on friday.Referral fees have been left aside pending yet another report.
 The one glimmer of hope is that the Government has sought views on whether recoverability of additional liabilities might be curbed (drastically) rather than ended.Let battle commence.

The Regan Report

 I have today delivered my report on the costs management pilot to Lord Justice Jackson,ahead of the deadline (surprisingly).

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Solicitor advocates

I spoke yesterday at the SAHCLA conference in London.The great concern was that monitoring was coming and many felt anxious that solicitors would not be treated fairly.The Attorney General ,a decent man who helped me with Jackson material,made it clear that no discrimination would be tolerated.
 Indeed,when fixed costs come into fast -track,as they will,i think solicitors will benefit since a separate allowance for counsel may not be recognised.Why disburse money when you can keep it for yourself?

White and red wines

Turkey and chicken can be accompanied by white burgundy or decent red.I f you are going to push the boat on try a Chassagne or Puligny Montrachet or Mersault,stunning whites.
 Chateauneuf Du Pape red is much better value than Bordeaux (though see below).Both Waitrose and Sainsbury sell one made in 2007 by the Perrin boys for £19-99.They also produce the deadly serious  ,Beaucaste which is 4 times the cost..The very greatest in the world is Chateau Rayas;anyone stuck for my birthday present on december 12th (same day as Teresa Aitken and my eldest boy,Nico) ,get hunting.
 If you live in London,Leeds or Manchester go to Harvey Nichols for advice.The London shop is my favourite.Forget France.Prices there aare higher tthan here.
 If you want something simple for a drinks party please do not buy pinot grigio ,the mark of the dumb.Chile produces great wines.Sainsbury own label varietals such as Merlot are utterly fine for £4. Colchester Wine are selling some 1983 Lalande De Pomerol for £239-40 a case.Mature,sexy,intellligent choice. Tel 01206 713 560.Unbelievable value for something so rare.

Swallow or spit? Christmas fizz.

Most of the weekend magazines suggest what to buy.Style today suggests Taittinger Prelude which i like but is an acquired taste.I gave a glass to an ex-acquaintance in the summer and she much preferred what i think is lovely ,Billecart Salmon sold at Oddbins.My loveliest bottle of the year was indeed this,consumed on the train to London.
 If you want rose champagne the best are Bollinger (not produced by them before now) and Ruinart.Laurent Perrier is not at all good compared to these 2.
 For value,Waitrose own label non-vintage at £19-99 is awesome .Their 2002 vintage,rightly recommended in the Observer today,is the very best for the money.If you do not like a supermarket label then buy the green label Mesnil 2004 from Waitrose.It is produced next door to Krug.Exotic.
 To get the Krug flavour try the Pelorus vintage  sold at Majestic (where the minimum sale is now 6 bottles).It is about £19-99.A friend asked me in the summer to help her choose the best pop for her engagement party.I gave her a shortlist of 4 which were tasted blind.This was both the best and the cheapest.
 Tesco own label is sound but they are selling a 2000 vintage as part of their best of range.It is 50 p more than the non-vintage .I bought every single bottle they had at my local branch.
 Much is made of English sparkling wine but you can buy perfect french vintage for less.
 Finally,avoid supermarket £9-99 muck.Sainsburys had some today.The best in Sainsbury is their own Blanc de Noir for £16-99.

 If you must buy a big label then Piper or Taittinger.I do not get Moet at all.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Christmas wine

 On sunday i will post the Jones and Regan top tips.I aim to taste tomorrow (saturday) in London in between speaking at the Solicitor Advocates conference at the Portman Radisson Hotel which is dangerously close to Selfridges.
 Thanks are due to Carly and Kathryn who were my brilliant minders this week and thanks to the other Kathryn for her kindness.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


It is very popular now to put people under watch ,be they injury claimants or employees on long -term sick leave.I was greatly impressed by Roger Bescoby recently who acts for defendants/employers and has a dedicated team across the land.I set him a task and he came back with material that was staggering.
His team are employed, not hit and miss freelancers, and cover the whole of the country.

Immense talent at the Bar

I do get some good jobs.I have been retained by a massive legal entity to pick a handful of spectacular prospects at the junior bar whom i think will be silks soon.
As a small taster i propose
Stuart McKechnie-9 Gough Square,a favourite of mine (and the very senior injury guru,Marshall,at Walker Morris).Modest  Brilliant with clients who must be terrified of the legal lottery..He really understands heavy injury claims.A  foodie and Bibendum fan.
Simon Butler-the most thoughtful man i know and who is adored by the Court of Appeal as i found out last monday night talking to members at the Garrick Club.He is a formidable talent on developing liability in tort.
Sean Jones 11 KBW-were anyone stupid enough to give me a job this is the man i would always go to when dismissed (as i would be) .Winner of the employment barrister of the year .He has nearly forgiven me for getting us tipsy at Le Caprice on St Patricks night.
Dr Mark Friston-The king of costs advocacy.He has been involved in the case of the year,Gibbon.Very thorough.Kind.When a friend thought she was about to lose £51,000 on a bill he rode to the rescue and recovered every penny.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Cook on Costs

The Lexis Nexis webinar broadcast today was the most watched ever in the history of the series.Michael Cook is an astonishing man and our only problem during the live one hour broadcast was controlling the giggles.A happy day.
 The new edition of the book is out at the end of the month with a cover illustrated by my gorgeous Chloe.
 Thanks also to Helen Matthews at Bircham Dyson Bell for coping as i crashed through the door to talk to a packed audience in Westminster 30 minutes after the webinar ended.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Staying in Bath

The obvious choice for people coming to Bath is the Royal Crescent Hotel and also the Bath Spa .They are very expensive.
.If you want somewhere more relaxed with the most amazing food and a stunning wine list then go to the Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay,a ten minute taxi ride out in deep countryside.It is so lovely that the man who created Ashes to Ashes bought the house nearby when he made his millions.
 The Bartons are the wondrous people who run it with a passion.Highly recommended.Ian Barton has forgotten more about wine than i will ever know.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Free costs seminar,Manchester.

On Tuesday November 30th Kings Chambers ,Manchester,in conjunction with Frenkel Topping,are holding a teatime seminar.
Mark Friston,whom i regard as by far the best costs junior in the country,will analyse the consequences of Gibbon,the most important decision of 2010.
I will look at the future of litigation and give an update on the latest Whitehall thinking on the Young/Jackson reforms in which i am now formally involved. Then drinks.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Allegedly dishonest claimants

The fun starts on the day after my birthday which is December 12th.The High Court in London is to consider the accuracy of the evidence given by the claimant in Owens v Noble and i understand another contempt case is being heard against a claimant whom the defendants say signed off a false statement of truth.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Case and costs management

Obviously,when i was a litigator i was without equal.Who else could attend on a Consent Order and lose? Exactly.
Well it happened again yesterday when i had the best legal fun sitting on the High Court bench with His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC in Birmingham as part of my new job monitoring case/costs management for Sir Rupert Jackson.
At the end of trial the parties agreed to ask for a stay for a year,pending the outcome of other proceedings.Simon Brown was having none of it.He chucked the parties out to agree the minimum quantum the winner was bound to get.20 minutes later he had made an award of £20,000 and resolved costs too in a sensible manner.In all seriousness i think that Judges ought to spend half a day watching how it is done.It calls for a simple knowledge of Part 1 of the CPR and commonsense.This man is exemplary.
I will spend a full day next month sitting and will then write my initial report.
I was on my best behaviour apart from a delirious moment when i wondered if i could pass the death sentence whilst on the bench .She had a lucky escape.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Prime Minister on Lord Young on Sir Rupert Jackson!

No one can now doubt that Jackson is going to be implemented.
The Prime Minister in his introduction to the report published today admits that he asked Lord Young to consider costs and compensation when in opposition.He proceeds to embrace the Young proposals.In turn,"I fully endorse the recommendations that he has made" says Young of the Jackson report.Unanimity.
Earlier this week i was asked by Sir Rupert and the Master of the Rolls to oversee the Mercantile costs management pilot and today Sir Rupert gave me the job of doing the same in the Construction Court.It is (unsurprisingly ) clear they mean business.
The legend that is Ken Slade of Weightmans has produced a perfect summary of Young.Please e mail me if you would like a copy;

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Challenging Jackson

I had a long talk with the founding partners of Gadsby Wicks,the highly regarded clinical negligence firm,this week.They are concerned that the proposal to end the recoverability of liabilities will kill their work.
One argument they raised against this was based upon section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 ,part of which was enacted yesterday.Section 1 does indeed seek to impose upon public authorities a duty to have regard to the reduction of socio-economic inequalities.
Sadly ,i do not think this will stand up.The section is not in force and i have it on high authority that the new government will never implement it,a measure created by the previous government.Section 2 is noteworthy for empowering the government to carve out exclusions from section 1 at will.I know a little bit about employment law and fear that this argument will never get off the ground.
Now Article 6 may be a better bet.I think ,professionally and personally,the next 3 months are going to be amazing.We shall see.

Electronic disclosure.

The new Rules and Direction came into force yesterday.
There is a mistake in question 8 on the new questionaire! It should say (A) attachments to e-mails not attachments to (A) e-mails etc.
It will still be an issue as to proportionality when determining if the e-disclosure path should be taken.I thought this was all new but i recently met an older lady who was involved in litigation long ago where e-disclosure took place.It is certainly fashionable now.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Lord Young

His key ideas are being announced next week (there are 40 as i mentioned last month).
Those doing clinical negligence work can expect to be squeezed by Young and Jackson.Civil servants are briefing the media now that the cost to the NHS is £770,000,000,up by a third in 3 years.

Sean Jones-employment barrister of the year!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

October CPR reforms

These have just been published.The e-disclosure gang (Dale ,Brown and Whitaker) have got their new rules in.The 53rd changes are otherwise not dramatic unlike the massive changes under Jackson which are surely to come next year.