Monday, 26 December 2011

THE SUPREME COURT

Very hot money on Lord Justice Elias being promoted next year. Top tip. A wise appointment.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE

One last thought. The majority of States in the US (30 to be precise ) now cap damages. Might that arrive here ?
Interestingly, Texas has just decided to emulate us with a loser pays costs reform so as to seek to prevent unmeritorious actions being brought. How long before deadeye Jackson descends on Dallas ?

END OF THE YEAR.

Last one for this year.
Enjoy the holidays.
Steel yourself for 2012; it is going to be so significant in legal history.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

FEES IN THE EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL

The Government has today published the consultation on charging fees to applicants in the employment tribunal. Two schemes are mooted. Neither look sensible . No surprise there .

2012- THOSE IN THE ASCENDENCY

My top tips this  year did well. Here are my ones to watch for 2012.
Lord Neuberger MR who is surely going to run the Supreme Court next year.If there is any justice Rix LJ should be elevated. Laws LJ is in the frame too.
Sir Rupert Jackson is destined for the highest court too but i wonder if he will stay in the Court of appeal for awhile to ensure that his reforms bed down.
Stuart Mackechnie has achieved all that i predicted and more , winning pi barrister of the year last month.He will continue to roar ahead. I note that he was the one barrister in the country asked to advise on updating the law society pi panel criteria.
He is now joined at 9 Gough by Simon Butler, the tort supremo, and a real candidate for pi barrister of the year 2012.
Ben Posford is my top tip for claimant injury solicitor 2012. He is universally admired.
His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC ensured that the Birmingham costs pilot worked and is plainly worthy of the High Court bench.
Dr Mark Friston is the leading costs junior and was praised by the Court of Appeal only yesterday.He has several big cases coming up.
Sean Jones is the cleverest employment counsel i have ever met and ought to be a silk in a few months.
His clerk , Lucy Barbet, has had a great year with 11 KBW winning employment set of the year (again ). Mike Goodridge at 9 Gough Square achieved pi set of the year . Matthew Gibbons at Deans Court , Manchester, is one to watch.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The works outing.

On saturday PI Costings took a group of 8 clients to Paris for the day and kindly invited me along for the ride which was spectacular. The best rail journey is the Eurostar to Paris and that was followed by lunch at the new Mandarin Oriental and a gentle stroll and shop.I promised to mention Aunty Ellen Parry at Leigh Day who has a propensity for going out dressed in red ballooons (don't ask ).She has some amazing photos on her phone (do ask ). A great talent is evident .

Ben Posford and other birthdays.

Congratulations to the brilliant litigator and his wife who had baby Sam this morning. It is my birthday too and i went to my favourite spot with my baby daughter.Happy birthday to Teresa Aitken who also managed to make the 12th her wedding anniversary and to my beloved Nico who shares the day too.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

DISHONEST CLAIMS

The Supreme Court will not hear the case of Summers unto April.Can a claimant who exaggerates a claim on purpose for gain be struck out altogether so as to be denied all compensation , even though part of the claim is valid?
We have an 11 month wait for the same court to consider privilege in the Prudential appeal.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

THE DISCOUNT RATE

The consultation paper has at last been printed off and should be out for consultation in a few weeks. The Government is in no hurry to act so expect a languid period to be allowed for responses.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

AWARDS

Thursday evening was the Legal Week awards event with just under 1,000 attending.My thanks to Carol Hui for explaining all the categories to me.
Ben Posford, the injury genius, invited me to the Headway awards on friday and that too was packed out.He becomes a father on december 12th , a good day for a birthday !

Saturday, 26 November 2011

CHILDREN AND COSTS

At long last the Court of Appeal is to hear this vexed issue on January 23 and 24 .

THE PI AWARDS

After a vicious week of work it was a great relief to attend the awards on Thursday evening .

Stuart McKechnie won the prestigious barrister of the year award , open to all in England and Wales (QCs included).It was a joy to see one so talented and modest succeed . His amazing wife , Lou, was there to see his moment of glory .
Andrew Twambley was a superb chairman and it was lovely to see legends like Geraldine,Hilary and Nick Bevan appear.
There are always surreal moments and this year it was the goody bag which consisted of mints and a screen scraper. What could have been wilder ? A kipper yoghourt and map of Scunthorpe was the best I could conjure up.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

THE SUPREME COURT

Well i spent yesterday morning there to listen to the opening of the nuclear limitation appeal. The building and staff are lovely apart from one security lady with a metal detector wand who was like Sooty on steroids, waving it frantically .
Lord Phillips was the boss and one could tell. Elegant and with a MacBook whilst the remaining 6 scribbled furiously.
It ends on thursday.
i spent a lively 45 minutes arguing referral fees for a Lexis broadcast in the afternoon .

Saturday, 12 November 2011

MY DAY IN COURT

I have 2 this week.
On monday morning i am in the Supreme Court to see the opening of the nuclear test veterans appeal and then i am on the 4pm Eurostar to Paris on the !7th to go visit the European Court on friday.

SWALLOW SWALLOW AND SWALLOW

If it is your birthday this week and you have a Sainsburys nearby (or even if it isnt and you don't ) go and buy the Laurent Perrier champagne which they are selling for £17-49 , less than trade price.It is lovely and Prince Charles and Kerry Underwood sip it together at Highgrove (really ).

THE CURSE OF P.I.

Mr Quinn went bankrupt yesterday.
The respected insurer, Admiral , has seen its share price halved as a result of concerns over claims and the end of referrral fees.If you are interested in referral fees then do watch the free New Law Journal webcast on monday at 2pm.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

EPIQ

The free Barbican event yesterday was a sell out and it was so kind of His Honour Michael Cook to appear as guest of honour.Electronic disclosure is to form an integral part of the efficiency drive that Jackson will require if firms are to thrive .

VICARIOUS LIABILITY

The decision of Macduff J in the child abuse case of JGE ,handed down yesterday, is exemplary.He held that a catholic diocese was answerable in law for the alleged activities of a priest even though the relationship between them was not that of employer- employee. Spot on. The decision is already on the British and Irish legal website.

THE LEONARDO SHOW

All newspapers are raving over the Da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery.As an acknowledged authority on art might I point out that his second most famous work is not in the show ? The absence of the fallen madonna with the big boobies has left me mystified.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

REFERRAL FEES - THE FREE WEBCAST

On monday november 14th at 2pm the New Law Journal is to present a live discussion featuruing David Greene , Andrew Twambley Ph. D. and myself.See newlawjournal.co.uk

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Phil King

Last night at Thompsons 90th birthday party i was reunited with my mentor, Phil King (see pic ) , the greatest litigator on earth. Ever.

HAVE ANOTHER GUESS!

Here is a hard one .Which Government department , making massive strides toward making the legal profession more efficent , has ,since March 2010 , lost 127 laptops/hard drives, 71 blackberrys and 293 other items of IT equipment? What a farce.

HAVE A GUESS!

Which Ministry took on a man with a conviction for credit card fraud and promptly gave him a credit card upon which , over 7 months , he  ran up a bill of £3,427 for personal spending?
You will not believe it but it was the Ministry of Justice.A one off .

STRESS AT WORK

The newspapers today report that the head of Lloyds Bank has stopped work due to stress. How ironic that he went off on National Stress Day.
Lloyds  has announced that it had secured him a place in a medical facility where he would have no contact with bank.Isnt that grand ? I wonder if the 45,000 people who have lost their jobs with the bank in the last 3 years were treated similarly?
 Last week i saw a great friend who is a solicitor running a healthy practice. Last year was dire because his bank (Lloyds ) reduced his overdraft by 75% at a stroke . Perhaps when he recovers the head of Lloyds will reflect that others will have suffered as he has done because of bank policy.What goes around ....

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

It needs to appoint 2 people to join the Prison Service Pay Review body. Each one will be paid £6,000 a year for 20 days work.
If you were taking someone on for £6,000 would you take out a full quarter page ad (IN COLOUR ) in 'The Guardian ' (today at page 41) and hire recruitment consultants at Lord knows what expense to deal with their appointment ? And they say lawyers are wasteful.
I hope that i will have calmed down by the time i take my rollers out and head off to the birthday party of the year; happy 90th to Thompsons.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

INTERIM PAYMENTS ARE NOT OFFERS TO SETTLE

I knew that ! Well the Appeal Court in ALI V STAGECOACH has just affirmed that this is so. Where a claimant recovered less than a prompt interim payment made on account by D the correct order was that there be no order as to costs.
Thanks to Ruth Graham (the Burnley bombshell who once appeared on page 3 in the Sun ) for sending me the transcript.

MESOTHELIOMA

The Court of Appeal has just handed down judgment in WILLIAMS V UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM. It is a superb decision inthat it analyses the component parts of liability and also sets out a helpful summary of the key dates on knowledge.Essential reading for disease practitioners.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

SWALLOW OR SPIT

After the busiest week of my so-called career it is a pleasure to get down to writing the Christmas wine column for Counsel magazine with Sean Jones.
Two top tips to keep you going .
1. Buy 6 at Sainsburys and get 25% off. Their own label Blanc de Noir champagne is superb and comes down to about £12, less than half the price you would pay in France for anything similar. Their own label wines are great value; try the Pinot Noir for £4.
2. The best value in a red bottle today is the Waitrose 2010 French Chasseur  at £4-35.It is delicious and would be a brilliant buy for a party . It is more elegant than many costing north of £10.

Friday, 28 October 2011

FREE SEMINAR

EPIQ is hosting a seminar touching on costs , Jackson and e-disclosure in London at 4pm on November 8th. there are already 100 acceptances but you still have a chance to attend. Just ping a note to dblaxell@epiqsystems.co.uk .See you there .

THE CHAMBERS AWARDS

This was a happy event for the 2 sets that I am closest to.9 Gough Square collected the injury award whilst 11 KBW won employment , yet again.
There were 2 frustrating aspects to the evening . Every 2 minutes a flunky would utter a shhh that was louder than the happy murmurs he sought to suppress .
Jacob Levy , seemingly nominated for more awards than anyone ever , walked away empty handed and I had to spend my evening consoling him.Whilst it was a tad ambitious for his keen clerk to enter him for most glamorous female barrister ( under 30) award I did leave feeling that he had been robbed.
I had the benefit of sitting with Paul Reason who is the best company . Thanks to Mike at 9 Gough who has had a cracking year and we still Have the pi awards yet to come .

Saturday, 22 October 2011

JUDICIAL DELAY

Some months ago i wrote in support of the Bristol Mercantile Court Judge for no one else had. He was castigated by the Court of Appeal for taking too long to produce a judgment which was upheld in every respect.
It is now apparent that the Supreme Court has a significant backlog of cases and PLC reports that the Prudential appeal on the issue of privilege may not be dealt with for a year.It strikes me that a litigant is just as badly off awaiting a hearing as they would be if awaiting a judgment.
The solution is to keep the bench to 5 and let them crack on with their work. On a  a salary of  £206,857 each when last  i checked it is not unreasonable to expect a bit of decent case management too.

AWARDS

 Here i am with my 2 editors on the award winning 'New Law Journal' plus John Cooper QC who was over-dressed due to having been to Buckingham Palace before visiting the Lexis authors party.
 It was decent of Chambers , who canvassed my views earlier this year , to send me details of the hot 500.
I have just been honoured with membership of the Legal Week awards committee; they are so thorough.
Finally , on november 24th it is the personal injury awards  , the judging being chaired in magisterial fashion by Andrew Twambley .What a man.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

David di Mambro

It is a joy to listen to someone who knows what they are talking about . David , of Radcliffe Chambers, gave a lovely talk about unjust enrichment this afternoon in
London. Captivating .

CREDIT HIRE

The Court of Appeal has heard a series of appeals concerning the lucrative business of credit hire.I understand that the court is keen to produce a coherent set of compatible judgments and so we may have to wait until December to see the outcome.

SIMON BUTLER

It was announced today by 9 Gough Square that they have landed the great tort talent that is Simon Butler. With his equally dynamic contemporary in the same set , Stuart McKechnie , we are going to see some spectacular litigation skills displayed .

SUPREME COURT VACANCIES

Laws LJ is looking a hot prospect for elevation to the top court .

A NEW PROTOCOL

We are to see in January a protocol for the regulation of commercial property dilapidation cases.

THE JUSTICE MINISTER

The Djanogly family knew a good earner when they saw it . The brother on law of our Justice Minister owned 2 claims management companies . Two children of the Minister were , until very recently , shareholders. It is wondrous that the light has been seen and Parliament will debate next week the ban on referral fees. To show that all is above board Ken Clark is now in charge of regulating claims companies, a short - term task.

FOOTBALL PITCHES

Lord Justice Gross has granted Calderdale MBC leave to appeal against a decision that it was to blame when an amateur footballer injured his foot due to a rut on the pitch.

Monday, 10 October 2011

TRAFIGURA

My thanks to Michael Bacon who tells me that the first instalment of the Trafigura decision will be published by the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

EASTWOODS TRAINING WEEKEND

Here is a firm which knows how to look after staff and speakers , good
Champagne on tap at the end of talks .Christina Lambert QC did a fine stint . She is a lady who likes a good scrap .She won, yet again.

Friday, 7 October 2011

THE SMALL CLAIMS LIMIT

Despite objections galore , including a thoughtful one from Sir Rupert, the MOJ has decided to double the limit to £10,000 .

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

PARTY LONDON THURSDAY EVENING!

Tomorrow evening 9 Gough Square Chambers and Paul Reason , the highly respected costs lawyer, are hosting a party for their respective clients at the Museum of London , Barbican, from 645pm until 10pm.If you would like to attend what is bound to be an excellent bash then do contact either of the organisers. I shall see you there.

Friday, 30 September 2011

QUALITY SOLICITORS

This new enterprise, which enjoys the unqualified support of Legal Futures, has a full page colour ad in'The Guardian ' today which must have cost a fortune. Good that the entity is thriving.

BARRISTER OF THE YEAR

Having correctly predicted that Sean Jones would win the employment title last autumn ( as if anyone else came near ) i see that Stuart Mackechnie is shortlisted for the PI award to be announced on November 24th. Smart choice,

REFERRAL FEES UPDATE

At a meeting with lobbyists 2 days ago Jack Straw promised that no dodges would be allowed so as to evade the imminent clampdown on referral fees which is intented to come into force next April.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

COSTS LAWYERS CONFERENCE

On friday October 14th the Association of Costs Lawyers is to hold a morning seminar on the future of the costs lawyer ( believe me there will be one and significant too).The event will be addressed by Michael Bacon, the vigorous chairman of the ACL, Michael Cohen, myself and an expert looking at the shape of a new legal bill for costing.
All interested in costs are welcome; you need not be a member of the ACL.The event is at Holborn Bars close to Chancery Lane.

TROUBLE AT THE BAR

Two leading London sets are in financial difficulties.One is well-known for defamation and the other housing work.The evaporation of success fees is only going to exacerbate problems.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

LONDON OLYMPIA

Next week I have the pleasure of speaking alongside the superb barrister , Simon Butler, at the London Olympia conferences arranged by The Solicitors Group. Chris Mellor puts the programme together and it shows. He is without equal when it comes to constructing such a major event. See you there perhaps .

IN-HOUSE PART 36 TRAINING

It is that mad time of year and my diary is full for October with October next year also and already very busy.
I do have some days free from November 17th to visit your firm or company to present a comprehensive update on Jackson/ costs / and or Part 36 .
Whilst well-intentioned there are tremendous traps and I seek to identify these in my talk . I would be staggered if you did not pick up at least one if not a dozen valuable tips .advert over - my e-mail is krug79@gmail.com. Thank you.

JUDICIAL REVIEW -CLIN NEG REFORM

AvMa has launched Judicial Review proceedings to challenge the removal of legal aid from this vital area . I hope they succeed and , more importantly, believe they will.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION

I am again grateful to Mike Goodridge at 9 Gough Square for a note confirming what I wrote about here on may 29th.An axe is to be taken to the CICA scheme and a higher threshold may well be set for those seeking a payment.
Lord Justice Jackson has spoken out against the removal of legal aid in clinical negligence work.It has never been a proposal of his but some , wrongly, blame him for this ludicrous idea.

LEGAL WEEK COMMERCIAL LITIGATION 2011

This excellent event ,chaired by His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC , took place yesterday at the magnificent St. Pancras hotel.Those speakers I heard were so well informed and it was a happy day .I took part in a final panel discussion which was bursting with energy for a 5pm slot. Chris Dale , solicitor and e-disclosure guru, kindly dropped in for this session. His blog is educational and entertaining , a rare combination.

Monday, 12 September 2011

INSURERS CLAIMING INFLATED REPAIR CHARGES

The decision of His Honour Judge Platt sitting in Romford in the case of FALLOWS V HARKERS TRANSPORT 2nd September is an astonishing read . His erudite judgment is worthy of Lord Denning MR . Suffice to say that he took a dim view of how an insurer put forward a claim for the costs (sic) of repairs.
The Commercial Court is now wading in with a series of cases listed for  directions onSeptember 22nd  dealing with the same point.

Friday, 9 September 2011

PHONE HACKING

Some lawyers are going to make a fortune from this litigation.
On October 7 the Jude Law action is back in court for directions .

WARREN COLLINS

The tranfer window has closed , final sealed bids have been opened and I believe he has been signed up by Simpson Millar.How astute they are .

MICHELMORES

Bernadette Mcghie invited me to do a teatime talk to their litigators in Exeter yesterday . It was all so impressive . Tremendous offices , a very knowledgable head of training and a happy team .To have Laurence Vick , genius clin neg solicitor , in my audience gave me great pleasure . We trained at the same time . He was always destined for great things and rose above betrayal earlier in his career .

COSTS MANAGEMENT

If your firm subscribes, as so many do, to the Lexis Dispute Resolution series then please watch the programme made yesterday . It is archived and available for a year . His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC who ran the Birmingham Mercantile Court costs pilot gave a stunning exposition of the process . It was full of practical advice then everyone would benefit from .
I have chaired every single programme in the series since inception 4 years ago . I thought this was as good as it gets .

Thursday, 8 September 2011

GOVERNMENT TO BAN REFERRAL FEES

EXCLUSIVE - the Government has announced in the last minute that referral fees will be banned . RUPERT wins ,again.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

SPIT OR SWALLOW ?

It looks like the wondrous editor of the New law Journal is going to let St Sean Jones and myself do a wine column there too!  To keep you going Marks and Spencer have been running a buy six get 25% off deal.Their Froglet white and red , despite naff name , are lovely for about £5 and thanks to Ferdy Lovett for tipping me off about Sainsbury own label Pinot Noir from Romania , really .Stunning at £4-30 ish.Waitrose simple french red Le Pecheur £4 cheapest they do and soft and easy.
I sourced for the Lovett wedding to my beloved Isabel Lanson champagne at Tesco last week for £15-19 as i bought more than 6 bottles (60 ). That is less than trade price.

LOW VELOCITY - which idiot firm is running it here ?????

Monday, 5 September 2011

LIFE IS HARD

Those nice people at PI Costings have asked me to organise an outing for their most loyal clients ( you know who you are ).
So it is to be a saturday day trip to Paris on the Eurostar for lunch in december. i have officially cleared it for Bribery Act purposes as one must.What a fine way to look after clients.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Well the long vacation , as we called it once, is over and the merry go round of litigation resumes.Last month i did go on Big Thunder Mountain at Disney with my boys after our Venice trip but otherwise it has been incessant writing.
Today , the Jackson bill is back before Parliament and the Alistair Kinley CJC committee is knucking down to help Sir Rupert with fine -tuning for implementsation in October next year.
HH Michael Cook has kindly sent me his new Part 36 chapter to read for Cook on Costs will be out in less than 3 months.
My massive disappointment with disappearing webinar speakers , booked long ago , and then not appearing has caused me grief but we are back on thursday with the most watched series in the country.
I was honoured to go to lunch on friday with birthday boy Stuart MacKechnie ,injury maven , at Le Caprice in London . When we arrived it transpired that Paul Stanton of Halsalls had been inearlier and had left the cost of a good drink behind the bar.A great man.
The other great man is John Griffiths , the new Chippendale of Bath.I was going to say for those unfamiliar with the term that he is big with wood but i fear that might add to the confusion.Anyway, he has moved me into a lovely apartment .The view is spoiled by a big set of council terraced houses called the Royal Crescent .My petition to have them demolished will see them off.Back to law.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

MASTER WHITAKER AND DISCLOSURE

Out in Singapore with Lord Justice Jackson was Master Whitaker . The speech of the Queens Remembrancer is fully reported on the Chris Dale blog.From my perspective what was interesting was his criticism of senior and yet inept lawyers who fail to understand the very nature of the disclosure exercise , particularly the need to limit it to proportionate boundaries .Fail in this duty and expect harsher penalties in future.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

THE THOUGHTS OF SIR RUPERT

Contrary to popular belief he does not think that the RTA portal threshold should be increased from £10,000 yet and he is equally against putting up the small claims limit.

Friday, 12 August 2011

JACKSON GIVES A PROGRESS REPORT

Sir Rupert gave a talk in Singapore yesterday morning . He confirmed that October next year remains the implementation target . Interestingly , he said that a much firmer line needs to be taken on delay and default . There should be a clampdown on the high cost of experts and of drafting witness statements . All of these ideas have been accepted by government.

Monday, 8 August 2011

AMANDA HOLDEN

I understand that Miss Holden appeared on television promoting Quality Solicitors.Next week the Chuckle Brothers will be discussing causation and remoteness.

SALE OF THE CENTURY

On friday september 9th Exeter University hosts a full day conference organised by the Exeter and Devon Medico-Legal Society. There is a superb range of speakers covering the entire gamut of medical and clinical negligence issues. If one gets a cheque for the princely sum of £100 to Foot Ansty solicitors in the millionaires playground of Exeter by thursday this week you will have secured the deal of the year .

Friday, 29 July 2011

EXCLUSIVE -EXPEDITED APPEAL FOR TEST VETERANS

The Supreme Court is to spend 4 days starting on november 14th hearing the appeal. It is being taken seriously with 7 , rather than the conventional 5,sitting ( Brown,Philips,Hale,Walker,Mance,Wilson and Kerr).

AUTUMN CONFERENCES

 The season kicks off on september 9th with the Exeter and Devon Medico-Legal Society at Exeter University. The audience consists of a fascinating mixture of medical types and  lawyers . Speakers include an eminent silk  and Dr Stephanie Bown of the MPS  . I will be talking about the future of experts and clinical litigation .
The Liverpool Law Society employment conference is on october 12 .
My own talks are presented by MBL in London,Leeds and Manchester.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

HOLIDAY READING

It is that time of year . For me Italy beckons .Anyway, the cheapest range of books can be found in the High Street chain,'The Works'. Easily overlooked but within you will find BBC audio books as well as decent titles heavily reduced such as Inspector Morse for 59 pence and intriguing hardbacks too.

WHAT IS A WHIPLASH WORTH?

£441,227 decided the High Court in London on may 12th.You take your claimant as you find them.
The claimant nurse was hit by a lorry driven by a drunk.She had to give up work as a result.Thanks to Tom Jones of Thompsons whose firm acted in this matter.

NUCLEAR TEST VETERANS OFF TO SUPREME COURT !

My thanks to Michael Goodridge of  9  Gough Square , the man with his hand on the pulse of litigation as opposed to a Stella glass.The Supreme Court has today granted permission to appeal in these ancient ,difficult cases.

EVADING EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS

Having now read Autoklenz , a decision containing only one judgment, i see that it is accepted that a genuine substitution clause ,although never invoked , is considered to be an absolute barrier to the acquisition of employment law protection. A great dodge.

A MORNING IN COURT

I spent yesterday morning at the Royal Courts watching an interim appeal in a claim put at millions . The dispute was between the Eaton Square property company and a tenant . Two things impressed me and one filled me with dismay.
The Judge was MacDuff J. , a consummate operator .Despite raging toothache he ploughed on and offered to return to finish the appeal after his hour at the dentist.He case managed with his opening words, giving each side an hour to put their submissions.
The appellant was represented by Adam Rosenthal of Falcon Chambers. He will take silk sooner rather than later.Exquisite preparation and presentation.
 It was sad to see massive lever arch bundles of documents.My bundle expert estimated that one file (and there were several ) ran to 900 pages. The sooner these are committted to disc the better.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

WHO IS AN EMPLOYEE?

The Supreme Court today rightly upheld the decision in Autoklenz which took a realistic view as to whether dressing up a working relationship as a commercial one took it outside employment law . It did not .

Saturday, 23 July 2011

COSTS CONSEQUENCES OF A WITHDRAWN OFFER

My good clients, Ince and Co , had a great success in a recent Admiralty case,SAMCO EUROPE ,  where a withdrawn offer was rightly held to be material on the issue of costs.

R V COTSWOLD GEOTECHNICAL LTD

All practitioners should take note of this Court of Appeal ( Criminal Decision ) judgment published on 20th July.The Court upheld a fine so large as to put the defendant company out of business.This arose in the context of  a corporate manslaughter conviction but is surely a sign that in a bad Bribery case the sanction could kill the company.For a large entity that might be a fine running into millions of pounds.

Friday, 22 July 2011

QUALITY SOLICITORS IN SMITHS!

QUALITY SOLICITORS

I have just received the very useful Legal Futures newsletter claiming an exclusive preview of the stand that is to be installed in branches of W H Smith. If you are sad enough to want to see one in the flesh then go to the Bath branch where it is already installed.Imagine my consternation last Monday when I popped in to find that the shelving which housed 'Big Boobed Babes' had been removed to make way for a big TV embedded in a wall rack with a hotline phone attached .
The graphic reproduced by Neil Rose was reminiscent of Boo.com which crashed horribly .

THE JACKSON BILL

The relentless progress of the Bill continues with the committee stage listed for September 6 and 8.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

HOT GOSSIP

The Supreme Court delivers judgment next wednesday in Autoklenz, a major case about employment status.
On thursday it hears oral argument on whether to entertain the Nuclear Test veteran appeals.
Baroness Hale gave my eldest boy ,Nico ,his degree at Bristol today.She is tiny.What did become of the Krankies ?
There was much excitement at the Crown Office Row party last night.The Ayala Champagne helped ( the house has been quietly acquired by Bollinger ) as did the strong rumour that a member of Chambers has been asked to be counsel to the Murdoch enquiry.Two years work for someone there.

Monday, 18 July 2011

OUTSOURCING

Herbert Smith are so happy with their Belfast operation that they have decided to recruit more staff there .

Meyer Brown

My thanks to Kate Elsmore for swinging me an invite to their office party last Thursday which was excellent ( and they have a senior partner who is human too).

Do I owe a duty to my opponent in litigation.?

The Court of Appeal is to consider this issue during the last week of October.Is it incumbent upon a solicitor to tell the other side they have made a mistake in proceedings ? Where would it end ? If you help your opponent are you not thereby doing down your client?
My thanks to RPC for telling me about this case.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

PROTECTION FROM HARASSMENT ACT 1997

Jones v Ruth ,published yesterday,is a significant decision .The court awarded damages under the 1997 Act.

PART 36

Another day,another Part 36 decision from the Court of Appeal.
My thanks to Marie-Therese G at Lexis for grabbing me the transcript of SHOVELAR V LANE 12th July . The parties spent £320,000 arguing over £134,000. It was held just to be just to give the claimant Part 36 rewards too. Better to mediate than to litigate said Ward LJ.
An amended Part 36 is being rushed in and will kill CARVER with effect from this October .

LEXIS AUTHORS PARTY

The party at the Savoy last night was wonderful.Nicky Briggs has a demonstrable affection for her authors .Christian Fleck,the new MD ,is a whirlwind .We shall have fun.Irene 'darlink' Kaplan is the most unlikely person on the planet to be head of tax,that droll topic.
I also met for the first time the abstemious Clare McMahon,my Tolleys Employment handbook editor.
The saintly Jan Miller has agreed that we can do a free webcast on the Jackson Bill and that should be broadcast later this month.
My personal highlight was a long ,funny chat with Michael Kershaw QC , the loveliest man one could ever meet.He won for the claimant in the House of Lords in Rigby v Ferodo, all about unilateral pay cuts,and was a brilliant Mercantile Judge in Manchester.So modest,so wonderful.

LEGAL AID IN CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE WORK

I think it wrong to take it away,always have done.
I understand that Lord Justice Jackson is troubled too and may yet advise against this terrible move.For the avoidance of doubt that is not something he has told me ,directly or indirectly.He has a great sense of justice and it would be no surprise were he to speak out.

ONE WAY COSTS SHIFTING IS SHIFTED

In a radical move it has now been decided that it will be means-tested and every eligible claimant will have to contribute , just like legal aid days again.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

LEGAL AID BILL

It enters the committee stage today.
Intriguingly,the NHS Litigation Authority has complained that the withdrawal of legal aid from clinical negligence could ultimately make claims more expernsive ( see article Guardian today page 15).

Monday, 11 July 2011

Friday, 8 July 2011

THE PRESS AND THE LAW

The announcement this morning by the Prime Minister that the Press Complaints Commission is useless and that we are ,rightly,to have a judicial enquiry into the hacking scandal will present a superb opportunity to consider super-injunctions and what the media can and can't do.

THE $1,000,000 MAN

Warren Collins of DAC is at the forefront of serious injury litigation and he has recovered vast sums for his clients.Beachcroft are looking to take over his firm.What then? They act for the NHSLA , his common opponent.Willl he not be conflicted out overnight?
Perhaps there will be an undignified fight to lure him away.What he earns for his firm is eye-watering.

AL-SKEINI

By a narrow margin ( 17-0) the ECHR has decided that Britain was an occupying force and so had a legal obligation to investigate deaths in Iraq.The judgment was published yesterday afternoon .

Thursday, 7 July 2011

CREDIT HIRE

The Court of Appeal is dedicating a fortnight to this messy topic ,starting October 3rd .

39 Essex st party

Other chambers may struggle but the party last night was first rate with superb champagne and black pudding ,as good as it gets.
The costs counsel cabal of Jeremy Morgan QC and Judith Ayling were there as was also insurance litigator Ben Williams and I had lovely chats with all of them .
Camilla Church is a major new personal injury talent at 39. Mark my words ,she
is destined for great things .
Guests included Jef Mitchell of the MOD who knows more law than anyone I can think of .

CIPD CONFERENCE

The annual employment event yesterday was a tremendous success thanks to a brilliant chairwoman ,Kay Willis, whom Lovells should be very proud of.The employment minister had to go to Poland but his stand in gave an honest assessment of likely reforms.
September 15th will see the first of a series of big announcements about employment law reform.
The audience were also great fun and Prof Ian Smith was on the greatest form too.A happy event.

JACKSON IMPLEMENTATION

The agreed date for implementation of the Act and subordinate legislation to fix fast track costs is 1st October 2012.The Samaritans are taking on extra staff.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

THE BLOG

I am pathetically grateful to those who read my blog .
May I recommend the one I follow religiously and that is the one written by Chris Dale whom I got to know after The Times asked me to interview him last year.He is a solicitor who understands technology and is the maven of e-disclosure . He writes with a rare passion.

CUT JUDICIAL SALARIES

The New York Times today reports that Judges in the city have not had a pay rise since 1999.
How long before the Ministry of Justice applies cuts to judicial salaries?

PART 36-WHAT ARE PROCEEDINGS?

Thanks to Mike Shiers at Nash +co for drawing to my attention the case of THOMPSON V BRUCE,a decision of John L Williams sitting in the High Court.Essential reading.

Monday, 4 July 2011

PENNINGTON LEGAL SERVICES

My thanks to all who came to this lovely event at Old Trafford .Guests have so far donated over £2,500 to my chosen charity .

VIRGIN TRAIN FARES

If you think them a tad high it might be because Branson drew a dividend of £48,767-12 last year.That is of course per day,everyday.

EMPLOYMENT LAW FOR FREE

The very greatest asset is the employment bulletin produced with evident love by barrister Michael Duggan.It is a work of genius,listing every recent case of note .You can subscribe by writing to mdugg@aol.com.A major revision has just been published.
I recently had to help a high flying executive with several high powered posts to get her head round employment law.This would have been invaluable.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

EXETER AND DEVON MEDICO-LEGAL SOCIETY

On friday 9th september the superb bi-annual conference takes place at Exeter University.A combination of important doctors and silks and Simon Singh and me will deliver a days worth of talks .The last event was full so the sooner one books the better the chance of securing a place.the cost is ludicrously low.

LORD YOUNG AND INJURY REFORM

The Health and Safety Executive published revised guidance for schools organising school trips.In place of the current 50 pages of material ,which goes so far as to specify how many safety pins to take,we have a curt 8 page set of sensible principles.Proof that this Government is determined to push through reform;this is exactly what Lord Young proposed last autumn.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

CHEAP WINE

This hot weather makes me thirsty.Morrisons are selling 6 bottles at 25% off until sunday.The best buy is their own label champagne which knocks Moet over.

REFERRAL FEES DAY 4

The Times today,page 17, suggests the Government is changing its mind and looking to ban them.Rupert Jackson ,yet again, is seeming to secure exactly what he recommended 18 months ago.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

LAWYERS IN EMPLOYMENT CASES

The Supreme Court has today decided ,by a 4-1 majority,that an employee is not entitled to bring an external lawyer to a disciplinary hearing .The majority had the vapours at the thought of ghastly lawyers running around in the workplace . Shame.the decision is on the superb BAILLI website but not that of the Supreme Court.

TRAFIGURA

The senior costs Judge is to deliver a supplementary judgment dealing with interest on costs in this very expensive piece of litigation.

Part 36

The Court of Appeal has delivered an important decision today on Part 36-MARCUS V MEDWAY PCT.Lord Justice Jackson,who is wrongly perceived as anti-claimant,delivered a dissenting judgment saying that a costs order should have been upheld for the benefit of a claimant who only recovered 0.25% of the damages sought.The majority penalised the claimant on costs.

REFERRAL FEES

Three days in a row !
The Panorama programme is to be broadcast on July 18th -thank you Tony Learmonth,the oracle,for that.
Axa ,according to page I of the Times today,has decided to abandon referral fees.
The portal ,demanded by insurers ,is a year old.Why aren't premiums now falling?

LIMITATION IN INJURY CASES

On July 28 the Supreme Court is to hear submissions on whether to grant the nuclear test claimants leave to appeal.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

REFERRAL FEES AGAIN

The OFT,Which magazine and ,most deadly of all,the Daily Mail is on the warpath.Never underestimate the impact of that newspaper.

Monday, 27 June 2011

REFERRAL FEES TO BE BANNED

It could happen. The leader in the Times today says they are evil, something Sir Rupert Jackson said on 14th January 2010.The recent paper from the Legal Services Board saying they were alright was a turgid,clumsy document.
Panorama has recorded a programme about how much insurance companies are making from them and Jack Straw is now campaigning to ban them,something he could have done when he was Lord Chancellor .
The outcry over rising car insurance premiums could have one horrific impact upon claimants.The whiplash industry would be eradicated were the small claims limit to rise to £3,000 or even £5,000.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Australian lawyers

They are just so advanced, we have much to learn from the likes of Geoffrey Lambert (e-disclosure ) and Liz Harris (case and costs management ).And they know so much about good wine too.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION COMMITMENT

The Government has now released the detailed commitment to ADR, something i revealed was coming many months ago.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

THE RTA PORTAL

What may well be the first appeal  on the workings of it comes before HHJ Gore QC on july 7th at Liverpool.The case is LAMB V GREGORY and the issue is wherther there is a mechanism for adducing witness evidence from the claimant as part of the stage 2 process.
My thanks to Andrew C. Lawson of St Johns Buildings for the tip.

PENNINGTON LEGAL

My thanks to Hanif Isa and his compatriots for organising a talk and dinner at Old Trafford last night.It was free but the company nobly asked that the 200 attendees make a donation to a charity of my choice .The attention to detail was staggering .I have never had 4 bodyguards before.They looked fearsome ,perhaps because their dresses were very tight.
I also had the benefit of a long chat with Matt Gibbons of Dean s Court Chambers, an astute and charming man.
I also bumped into Paul Carroll on the way to the event, a loyal follower of many years.Top man.

DEFENDANT INSURERS PANELS

I am helping 2 insurers to decide which firms ought to be retained .Cost apart,it is pleasing that they are both very keen on training and legal knowledge. If you do not know your Cv D from your AB V CD you will not be welcome.

THE JACKSON BILL

The profound changes are there ;clauses 41,42 and 43.
Where though is one -way costs shifting,the 10% damages uplift and the demise of Lownds? The ever -vigilant Angela Hanmore spotted the gaps at once.
Damages could be increased by judicial diktat but i cannot how the other reforms can happen without clear legislation.I shall make enquiries.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

LEGAL WRITING

It is murder.I have just signed off a big update for Lexis and also my bit in Tolleys employment law handbook.The reward is an invite to the Lexis authors party at the Savoy on july 12th.
 Writing for the NLJ is a pleasure for the editor is brilliant and supportive.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Alternative business structures

I do not believe for a moment that the legal world will be transformed. Why ever would anyone buy into an industry where the fundamentals are about bto change and few know what the new numbers will be? At what level will costs be fixed in fast-track? What will be the fast track ceiling next year? How many new portals are coming?
 I spluttered when i read that the Co-op are looking to enter the market.On the basis of my last dealings with them i would trust them no more than i could throw them.
 Also ,some solicitors are going to set up stands in W H Smith.Their shops are dreadful and overpriced.How can Waitrose sell crisps for 60 p when they charge 90p for the same product? Who would associate them and those on their premises with value??

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Exeter wine education

I was lucky enough to have a personal tutor in tasting a ferocity wine blister of a bottle,2001 Mersault .It was very nice ,said the expert and she was right.Sean Jones,the kindest man on earth ,and i will be writing a new wine column  for Counsel Magazine this month.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

WASTE AND THE MOJ

A Crown Court Judge ,Beatrice Bolton,was convicted last december of failing to control her dog.She chewed gum during the hearing and called her conviction "a fucking travesty".Nice girl.
She has been suspended on full pay since, pending an inquiry into what happened.Why on earth should it take 6 months and continuing?  Any competent employer would have dealt with this in a fortnight.She will have trousered over £50,000 to date.A disgrace.

SHOPPING AT BICESTER

Those heading south for the big society events this month and next may well want to drop into the best shopping outlet in Europe, now enlarged with a big new Prada shop .Be warned that even mid -week it is packed so grab any parking space you see.

SIR RUPERT JACKSON

I heard from the man this week.He is in cracking form despite sitting all week and saturday morning too.
The Jackson Bill will be published this month.The Government are determined to remove legal aid from all clinical negligence claims , as controversial a reform as could be.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

LAWYERS IN TROUBLE

My story last week about Costs Judges dissenting from Jackson made the front page of the Gazette this week.So, expect to see in the Gazette next week
1.A firm of claimant injury solicitors 10 miles from Manchester is being watched by the SRA.Word has reached it that they are not paying bills.They owe their costs draftsman over £100,000.If proceedings are issued i understand the SRA will wander north.
2.One of the biggest sets of Chambers in London has a modest problem with the bank.Well, i regard a £3,000,000 overdraft as modest.Each member has been made to cough up a sum not unadjacent to £40,000 to pacify those rapacious bastards (aka bankers).

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

In -house availability

I am free to present in-house on Part 36,Jackson and the latest CPR news during the latter part of July .My trip to work in New York has been postponed to August.

Part 36 once more

The sensible decision of the Court of Appeal in C v D means that thousands of offers are legally valid after all.I had the benefit of an audience with Ken Slade yesterday,the great PSL at Weightmans who also knows pop music inside out.He points out that many firms dreading negligence claims must now have exhaled a sigh of relief.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Part 36.

The Court of Appeal has just overturned the decision in C v D.

Judges in trouble

The Mercantile Judge in Bristol has been criticised by the Court of Appeal for taking 22 months to deliver a judgment.He is a decent ,hard-working man and it is notable that his decision was upheld as correct.If it is any consolation to him the Law Lords  took a year to deliver their decision in White v Jones (1995) 2 A.C. 207, a case about solicitors delay!
 Much more seriously,James Allen QC, a Deputy |High Court |Judge,was found guilty this week of beating up his wife despite her changing her story and claiming she had attacked herself.She is a barrister and Coroner.Subject to an appeal, i assume the next step will be prosecution for perjury and /or conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Criminal injuries compensation

The Government is to announce significant cuts in the amount that claimants shall get under the scheme.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Evidence

The Court of Appeal delivered an important decision this morning in Wetton v Ahmed.It sheds light on what to do where critical documents are not produced.Essential reading and a pat on the back for His Honour Judge Simon Brown who decided the case at first instance .

Part 36 and predictable costs

On October 19th the Court of Appeal is to hear Oliver v Doughty.In a predictable costs case does the claimant get costs at large on accepting a Part 36 offer or is it still the fixed costs under Part 45?
I would suggest that fixed costs only apply.We shall see.Thanks to Robin Dunne of Keelys for the tip off.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Rix LJ was robbed

The propulsion (delayed) of J Sumption straight to the  Supreme Court bench  has attracted much comment.
He is a clever man ;see his 3 volumes on the hundreds year war.However,i feel immense pity for those who have slogged their way up the pole.
Lord Justice Rix is decent,clever and produces superb decisions ( Carver was an off day).He truly deserves to be at the top .
The Supreme Court is going to wait for Mr Sumption to finish a case for a Russian plutocrat before he takes up his post.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Jackson v His Critics

I had a lovely lunch with Geraldine McCool today to celebrate her recent birthday .This sadly meant missing a lunch with Anastasia and someone who celebrated her half birthday on tuesday.Sorry.She kindly produced the response of Sir Rupert, dated may 16th, to the Oliphant report.Thompsons commissioned a group of acadaemics,lead by Prof O,to analyse and,as it proved ,to attack key Jackson proposals.Sir Rupert is having none of it and has swatted the criticisms aside.Interestingly,he describes APIL as his strongest critic.I would say his most vociferous critic but no matter.
I would not want anyone to think that Sir Rupert is just interested in law reform.At the Court of Appeal Christmas party he introduced me to the oeuvre of Aloe Blacc.Altogether now
"Clap your hands everybody,
Everybody just clap your hands,
Come on y'all......".Wondrous.'I need a dollar '.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Forthcoming appeals

After 2 false starts the vexed question of whether children should recover costs in cases that settle for no more than £1,000 is off to the Court of Appeal.Thanks to Sheldon Davidson for the tip off.The case (his ) is Dockerill v Healey.

Vickie Cargill, female costs supremo at BLM Manchester, tells me that the SCCO is going to hear an appeal on the big issue of the moment,the right to interest on costs.Look out for Bridle v Ikhlas.

Trafigura

Having read every word twice i fear that the decision of the Senior Costs Judge is susceptible to appeal on a number of fronts and i would be astonished if this did not go further.
As to who will succeed him i think Costs Judge Saker would be a great choice.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Who is an employee?

The Supreme Court has heard the case of Belcher on this point and reserved judgment.i would be staggered if the appeal succeeeded.The claimants will win.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

£107,707,772-72

That was the amount of the bill presented by Leigh Day to the defendants in the Trafigura pollution injury claims where it was ultimately accepted that most claimants had flu like symptoms.
The SCCO decision was about preliminary issues and ,uniquely,involved 5 silks and a junior.
It was found ,applying what struck me as advanced nuclear physics,that the appropriate success fee for counsel and solicitors was 58%.I could have told them that had they asked me.The risk assessment called the case "fabulously complex".
You might be surprised to learn as was i that the Clerkenwell hourly rate does not include the cost of armed bodyguards (para.393).
Please do not mention this case to Sir Rupert Jackson;i fear the pooor man would implode.
Nerd alert-there is a typo at para .196 where the date should be october 30th(obviously).
Bring on the detailed assessment.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Injury litigation in the south west

I had a great afternoon yesterday thanks to Chris Thorne of Foot Ansty who put on a talk for the benefit of local injury solicitors who refer their clinical negligence work to his firm.
In the audience was Pete Mitchell who has set up his own disease practice .An able and astute practitioner,he has the benefit of assistance from the genius that is Cliff Poole who was incredibly kind to me as a trainee and is the best dressed male lawyer in the country.

Part 36

The appeal against the eminently sensible decision in Midland Packaging has been abandoned.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Dirty gossip in the Court of Appeal

"Atkin LJ said that he was unable to go all the way with Scrutton LJ".
Paragraph 68 of Durham Tees Valley Airport v BMI Baby Ltd (2010) 1AER (Comm)at page 754.
Someone needs a superinjunction.

Miscarriage of justice

The Supreme Court will publish on its website tomorrow the decision handed down today as to what amounts to a miscarriage of justice.Should someone later acquitted after earlier conviction always get compensation?

Forthcoming appeals

After 2 false starts the vexed question of whether children should recover costs in cases that settle for no more than £1,000 is off to the Court of Appeal.Thanks to Sheldon Davidson for the tip off.The case (his ) is Dockerill v Healey.
Vickie Cargill,another female costs supremo, tells me that the SCCO is going to hear an appeal on the big issue of the moment,the right to interest on costs.Look out for Bridle v Ikhlas.

Party time

Epiq hosted a first rate event on monday in London with Chris Dale,the great chronicler of the topic,making a guest appearance.The company also hosted a dinner where i met Judge Peck from New York who was as modest as he was delightful.
Last night was the 11 KBW party held at the Wallace Collection,a beautiful building.The hand of Lucy Barbet was evident in the spectacular detail.There were hundreds of guests and i saw a quorum from the Court of Appeal in deep session,aided by exotic cocktails.A hard act to follow.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Alternative business structures

We are on the verge of the greatest ever upheaval in litigation costs ever known.This is not the stable environment for outsiders to buy up or into legal practices.
 i would urge practitioners to avoid entering into any long-term commitments with 'consultants' or anyone else until the dust settles and we know where we are which will not be until next year.You do not want onerous commitments around your neck.At least ,consider a break clause.

Eating out

The latest Tatler magazine just out has a superb restaurant guide as a supplement and is well worth getting if you like eating out in London.My favourite places are accurately described.To describe Le Caprice as harder to get into than Eton is dead right as is calling Bibendum perfect.

Effective Part 36 offers

In Gibbon last year the Court of Appeal described Part 36 as a mechanism for claimants to offer to take less than the full value of their claim.The Chancery Division in AB V CD March 2011 has now said that an offer to take the full amount of the claim cannot count as a Part 36 offer.I am not so sure.We will see.

Fraudulent road traffic claims

Top ten dodgy venues are Birmingham,Bradford,Manchester,Liverpool,,Bolton,Blackburn,Southall,Oldham  and London (east and north).
The 'Daily Telegraph' published an interesting letter on saturday may 7th in the motor supplement suggesting that insurers were as corrupt as some claimants.High repair rates are claimed but the bodyshop is then to give the insurer a massive kickback.This is funded by inflating repair charges in liability cases.To maximise credit -hire,the vehicle is whisked away asap .Car manufacturers are getting in on the act by doing deals with credit hire companies and threatening to remove approved status from bodyshops if they fail to refer non-fault cases.If any of this is true we are looking at anti-competitive and corrupt activity.

The I Phone

I switched after someone blew up my blackberry last summer.
There are 4 very useful apps to consider.Free are Photosynth which enables you to take panoramic pictures and find i phone,to enable you to track it if lost.
 Should you travel regularly buy train times which is amazing and tells you what platform a train goes from and if it is delayed.It costs a fiver but is priceless.If you want free train times for all Europe including here then get the DB app (the German rail company).Tube exits is again marvellous for London underground planning.

Damages

New Ogden tables are coming.They are likely to recognise increased life expectancy and under consideration is a range of discount rates in increments of .25% rather than .5% as now.
The consultation paper on the discount rate is complete ;we are awaiting publication.
I understand that the Goodale litigation,brought by prisoners against the MOJ, has just settled.The MOJ were funding both sides of the litigation,an interesting economic exercise.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Paris

The Ralph Lauren car collection is a masterpiece and one should go see them if in Paris before the end of august.i know nothing technical about cars.The RAC breakdown man told me i was the first person ever to call him out for help in changing a tax disc.A magnificent spectacle.
 AA Gill in the Times Style magazine described a restaurant as expensive for a starter was a tenner.At Lassere,an asparagus starter was £58 .However,this Parisian 2 star Palace has a roof that opens up to reveal the sky above.Bonkers.
 For a treat try the  Royal Monceau hotel just revamped by Starck.The bar is beautiful and the toilets are in a hall of mirrors.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Super -Injunctions.

 The report coming from Lord Neuberger MR next month will be welcome.He is such a sensible man.
 Treachery and betrayal are terrible traits.Claimants now use the law to hide the truth,if they can afford it.
 To grant an injunction for life strikes this writer as grotesque, a word of the moment in the Court of Appeal.A recent injunction granted to a mediocre presenter was based on the prospect of his children being bullied at school, were the story to emerge.Hiding behind the children does not look noble.Nor did his conduct.
Self -loathing or self deception,i wonder which is worse?
Footballers are the new primitives.Why cant they be like Ryan Giggs or Alan Shearer,uttterly decent types?

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Chancery litigation

Such has been the success of the Birmingham costs pilot in Mercantile and construction that i now believe we may see a similar scheme applied in Chancery ,with leeds or Manchester being the likely venues .

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Consulting

Every day last week i received an enquiry from a law firm asking if i would go in and speak to the partners on where we are going in litigation,something i am delighted to do.Very big changes ,some yet to be announced,are coming.

Exaggerated claims

The Supreme Court has granted leave in the case of Summer which will be heard in january next year.
The Court of Appeal decided nearly 2 years ago in Shah that one cannot deny damages to a claimant who has exaggerated a claim or ,as in Shah, conspired with another so as to enable that person to pursue a false claim.
Professor Zuckerman wrote a compelling article recently suggesting that this misconduct could properly be categorised as an abuse of process enabling the entire claim to be struck out under CPR 3.4.
The one problem is how to gauge the degree of exaggeration .Should a claimant who claims £100 dishonestly lose their true £10,000 of quantum?

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Interesting cases on the horizon

Webster Dixon v ULR Norwich-the High Court is to decide if someone with bte cover can compel their insurer to allow them to pick a solicitor of their own choosing where suitable solicitors are on the insurers panel.
Epsom College v Pierce -The Court of Appeal has granted leave.Where a Part 36 offer has been withdrawn can the court allow interest as if the offer hasn't been withdrawn?
Bethell Construction v Deloitte-A case on service of a claim form and arguments about if D is estopped from taking a service point ,again going to the Court of Appeal.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Top talent 2011

I have taken many calls recently from researchers compiling legal directories.The following list is of those i believe to be in the ascendency.
 Tort counsel - Simon Butler.
 Serious injury counsel-Stuart McKechnie
 Employment barrister-Sean Jones
 Costs counsel-Dr Mark Friston
 Costs counsel with real potential-Andrew Arentsen ,Civitas Chambers.
 Costs lawyers-Teresa Aitken ,Paul Reason ,Michelle Ackroyd and Erica Bedford
Chancery counsel -Shantanu Majumdar.
Safest pair of hands in injury-Chris Goddard,the senior junior .

Sunday, 10 April 2011

In House Talks

The hotties of the moment are
_Settling claims;an advanced Part 36 guide
  Jackson-what will happen when?
  Litigation tactics.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Discount Rate

The Ministry has finalised a consultation paper.It provides for a 3 month consultation period.
All of this reform is depressing.I sobbed with the repeal of the Gut Scrapers and Tripe Dressers Welfare Order (it really did exist).

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Injury reform

I spent a depressing day in bed yesterday ploughing through the latest consultation which looks to extend the portal scheme to cover more claims and of higher value (clinical negligence up to £50,000 anyone?).My review will be in the New Law Journal this coming thursday.All very worrying for claimants.Those responsible for the portal assure me that the Young implementation target of april next year is impossible to achieve although i can see it in rta where the infrastructure,not yet a year old,exists.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

City University,London

I delivered my annual talk on thursday and was stunned by the massive audience.My thanks to Snigdha for brilliant organisation .My audience included Lady Coulson and international playboy, Tariq Bin Aziz.The questions were frighteningly perceptive.A brilliant institution.Prof Nigel a star.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Suing experts

The Supreme Court has decided that experts do not enjoy immunity and can be sued for getting it wrong in litigation-Jones v Kaney.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Limitation

The Supreme Court has directed that a day be spent hearing argument as to whether the test veterans should be allowed to appeal.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Buying injury claims

The Court of Appeal reserved judgment yesterday afternoon in the case of Simpson where the claimant had purchased a claim for MRSA from the victim.Could she pursue the action?
Surely champerty?

Thursday, 24 March 2011

APIL conference

I have been kindly invited to speak (for 8 minutes) on the issue of Jackson reform at the conference next month.I suspect a few things will have happened between now and then.

Law reform

I now have the official transcript of the budget speech.The Chancellor said "Lord Young`s recommendations on health and safety laws will be implemented in full.The no win no fee legal services that prey on employers will be restricted".

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Compensation culture is a myth

So said the Master of the Rolls and he should know.See his Bentham lecture delivered on March 2nd (at para.45).

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Yet another Part 36 appeal

Where will it end? Leave has been granted in Midland Packaging v HW Chartered Accountants.

Costs management

I spent yesterday in court as the guest of HH Judge Simon Brown QC monitoring the continuing costs pilot in Birmingham. Two things for practitioners to note.Where expensive evidence is sought the Judge will ask if you have sought tenders from providers and,if not,why not? He is also ,rightly,keen to curb big spending on the preparation of witness statements.In case after case clear indications were given that the amount of time suggested for the process was unreasonable.
Before going up to Birmingham last thing on thursday night i went to the most elegant recital and reception hosted by Radcliffe Chambers.Shantanu Majumdar ,who kindly invited me,will be appearing in the april Lexis webinar on disclosure.His wisdom is magisterial and i recommend him to anyone with commercial/chancery disputes.

Mediation

Publication of the Government consultation paper on compulsory mediation,which i mentioned recently,is imminent.Expect it before the month is out.

Fraudulent claims

After 8 days in court a team of 3 barristers appearing in Owens v Noble have defeated the allegation that the claimant intentionally deceived the court as to the severity of his injuries.He keeps the lot.Thanks as ever to Stuart Mckechnie ,part time barrister and full time gourmand,for printing off the transcript for me to read .

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Part 36

The troublesome decision in C V D (2011) 1 WLR 331 that an offer was time limited and so beyond the scope of Part 36 is going to the Court of Appeal .My disquiet was ,i think,shared by both leading costs silks in the country (Bacon and Morgan) when we did our Lexis webinar on costs earlier this week.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Costs management practice direction

A draft has been finalised and meets the approval of Lord Justice Jackson.It goes before the Rules committee for approval on april 8th with a view to implementation in october.
A bill to implement Jackson reforms (or those the Government want) is highly likely by july.

Forthcoming costs cases

Soon in the Court of Appeal is a case where an ATE premium of £9 million is claimed where the costs of D are perhaps £10 million.
Leave to appeal has surprisingly been granted in Gump.
Litigation is also starting on whether it is reasonable to insure under the rta portal scheme at the outset.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The APIL conference

The obvious highlight this year will be Stuart McKechnie looking at damages in injuries of utmost severity.I commissioned him to write a piece on this topic last year and it was blindingly brilliant.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Legal directories

In the last week i have been approached  by 2 publishers for critical analysis of those barristers,solicitors and consultants about whom i have written in the last year. What was so impressive is that these people had obviously read what was published;they were very thorough in their approach.

Friday, 18 February 2011

More radical reforms coming.

The MOJ are considering increasing the small claims limit from £5,000 and the possibility of compulsory ADR is back on the agenda.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

My in -house seminars

By far the most demanded talk of the year is on Part 36 and settling claims,not surprising when one considers the immense impact of Gibbon and the unhelpful C V D decision.
Jackson ?Young and the future of litigation is joint second along with new litigation tactics,of which there are dozens.
The Bribery Act will be on the agenda too from next month.
Drop me a line if you might be interested in any of them or indeed my rolling CPR updates.Thanks.

clinical negligence work

A new pilot scheme is coming later this year.Those who think it a safe and lucrative haven are misguided.Sir Rupert Jackson sees it as grotesquely expensive and it was the very first thing he referred to at the launch of his final report in january last year.The Young proposal to create a portal in april 2012 also indicates heavy downward pressure upon practitioners.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Champerty

The decision of the Court of Appeal last week holding that it was lawful for a solicitor to bear the risk of an adverse costs order if the claimant on a cfa lost is intriguing.It does indicate that solicitors can lawfully fund/support the claimant,an idea which i suspect Lord |Justice Jackson would approve of.Whether solicitors will want to become banker/funders is another matter.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Are success fees illegal?

The Court of Appeal has called for written submissions by friday in the case of De Souza where oral argument has already concluded.The claimant sued the local authority over tree root encroachment.The insurer paid out the claimant,took up rights of subrogation and entered into a ccfa.The claimant was fully insured so why the need for a funding arrangement? Might this breach the right of D to a fair trial under Article 6?
 Campbell has had a faster impact than anyone ever thought possible.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

2011

 This year will be one to remember.Jackson reform consultation ends on february 14th .The final Government proposals will be announced in the spring with a view to reform in April/October 2012.Meanwhile, the Courts will extend their pilots with costs management introduced into every Mercantile and Construction case this Easter.Defendants are lining up a challenge to the Lowndes test on proportionality,much criticised in the final Jackson report .The Young report has been accepted by |Government and will be acted upon.It matters not that the author has resigned.
Next week the High Court in London will resume the part heard case of Owens v Noble.Did the claimant mislead the court so as to enhance his damages??