Sunday, 23 December 2012


I revealed here on November 26th that those responsible for portal extension had cold feet ( not trench foot) and were in gentle reverse about the likelihood of delivering reform in April.Nearly a month later the MOJ has reacted and it now concedes , admirably , that they are struggling. Portal reform was contrary to the specific advice of Lord Justice Jackson.
I think it a disaster and unlikely to happen in April. Happy Christmas to all ; i shall be scribbling and fettling whilst you party like it is 1999.

Monday, 17 December 2012


Moore -Bick LJ has written the judgment in HENRY and it will be published this week.
This may be my last posting of the year as i am off filming legal stuff in London and Paris before joining the Jones family on saturday for our Bibendum Christmas lunch.
Litigators must not despair . There is plenty of work to be done.Happy Christmas to all.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Friday, 7 December 2012


The Said Business School at Oxford University has the best auditorium ever. 120 people and yet i felt that if i reached out i could touch them ..The audience was brilliant and the afternoon a joy.


By any standard the event today was a raging success. So many delegates and great speakers. I met Roger Mallalieu for the first time. His talk about Qowcs was sublime. A happy day with Anastasia , Sally , Janine , Libby and Neville Illingworth -Law who offered to get me a tea as i sank under questions in the break.Good to hear from him that Laura Broomhall , a clever girl from a fine family, has got a training contract.


The Rules to implement reform are to be published in January.
The Law Society has  decided to look at producing a model damages based agreement; wise.
Temple is going to offer a.t.e. cover for QOWCS cases.
Andrew Twambley has seen a wall of funds come in from firms keen to secure work lawfully once the referral fee ban kicks in.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Thanks to Luke Colyer who gave me a guided tour of Hedonism Wines in Mayfair .It is like Lavinia in Paris in that it carries a wide stock of the greatest bottles . What is wonderful is that it also stocks good , everyday wine and almost everything is cheaper than Majestic or Waitrose . How they do it when a minute from Claridges is beyond me .3-7 Davies st, tel 0207 290 7870. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Work on the general revision of Part 36 will not begin until next year.
The Jackson reforms ( 10% uplift on damages and QOWCS) will be implemented in April.


There is , rightly, immense concern about what one can and cannot do in injury cases from April next year. Frank Maher of Legal Risk and Sue Maudsley, his business partner, are brilliant at all matters relating to compliance and , if you are stuck , i suggest you approach them.
For the avoidance of doubt i do not take fees , bungs , cuts or anything else from those i mention here. My sole criterion is perceived talent and i like to think i have been proved right in mentioning HH Judge Simon Brown QC, Simon Butler, Stuart Mckechnie, Ben Posford, Sean Jones QC, Felicity Roberts , Teresa Aitken Paul Reason and Chris Dale amongst others.


I have the joy of 2 conferences in London this week.Wednesday is employment where i am the only non -silk speaking , Lord help me.I am with Sean Jones which guarantees hilarity and happiness. On friday ir is the costs conference . I was allowed to pick the speakers so i promise not a dud.Both are MBL events.
On thursday i speak to the ADR Group conference at Oxford University.


Last mention this year but the top tip that Sean Jones QC and i agreed upon , Tesco own label non-vintage , won highest praise in both the 'Telegraph' and 'Indy ' today.We rated it at £19-99; buy 6 now and it is under £12. If you but their simple Corbiere as part of the same deal it comes out at £2-99.Clean , decent French red.

Friday, 30 November 2012


Mrs Justice Slade has just given judgment in LIGHT ON LINE LTD V ZUMTOBEL. The decision of the 29th November is already on BAILLI. She granted relief from sanctions where the claimant had failed to notify D of the existence of a substantial ATE premium. I was asked about this recently and , for once , my answer coincided with the outcome here.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


I  learnt this evening that i will be sipping something wonderful with someone wonderful at the Connaught soon.Life is hard.
Back on planet earth please do buy Tesco finest non -vintage which is down to £12 a bottle if you buy 6 or more. It is as good as Bollinger and wipes the floor with non -vintage Moet.
If you want Rose then Bollinger is superb and far better than Laurent Perrier.
My co -critic , Sean Jones QC , served vintage Monopole at the christening party on sunday and that was a coup de foudre.


John Kingston is just the best company and so was Francine Read who organised my talk. With the Jackson reforms 131 days away we had plenty to consider . And they bought me a fabulous bottle of wine .Class.


We set another record today, unsurprisingly . Jeremy Morgan QC and His Honour Michael Cook were on great form .Plenty to talk about. The new edition of Cook is out on December 3rd , a day before the Court of Appeal hears HENRY, a case with potentially massive consequences for it will spell out the Judicial take on budgeting and what happens if a successful party exceeds the approved amount in an action.

Monday, 26 November 2012


The company responsible for developing the EL/PL portal extension has just privately admitted to Government that there are no guarantees it will be functioning in April 2013.
Told you so . 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


Dame Janet Smith gave a terribly important decision today in JOHNSON V MOD. It was about the vexed question of the date of knowledge to be attributed to a man claiming damages for noise induced deafness.Whilst saying that the decision was close to the line (para.28) she concluded that a reasonable man going deaf at the age of 61 would have wished to determine the cause and so was deemed to have knowledge which meant he was statute -barred. Deafness claims are driving insurers mad on account of the enormous gulf between damages (low ) and costs (high ). Interestingly the claimant only began to consider a claim after a claims management compant rep collared him in a supermarket car park.


This morning the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision delivered by Lord Phillips on the question of vicarious liability for child abuse.
I suggest that all practitioners read the judgment in the Catholic Child Welfare Society (sic ) case. It was held that an unincorporated entity could be treated as an "employer " upon which liability devolved.The law is on the move (para.19) .
There was lavish praise for Macduff J and also Ward LJ. I can only speak for the former who should be in the Court of Appeal . To promote Rix LJ would be astute and make room for Sir Alistair.


The MOJ is about to announce that the continued recoverability of ate premiums will be confined to the cost of expert evidence determining liability and causation only.

Monday, 19 November 2012


I read for many years his well written column in 'The World of Interiors'. He came across an an interesting , decent man.
Having trousered £185,000 tax free from the hapless BBC he is reported as looking for a larger sum from ITV. The crass Schofield stunt represented the depths of the media and why Lord Justice Leveson is going to recommend massive reform in the strongest of terms.


So at last they have gone out to consultation. I still think the figure proposed (£500 ) will be increased . Interesting times.


Whoever is advising the Prime Minister on law reform should be shot.
He announced a clampdown on Judicial Review today. The number of applications has , he said , risen dramatically so his ' cure ' is to charge loads more for making applications.
That is imbecilic. The increase , which he did not mention , is wholly down to immigration challenges. Were the Government to get a grip on that issue the problem would be solved.
How can it be a solution to charge more money and anyway doesnt one need leave to seek JR? That is in itself a highly effective filter. Our Judiciary is second to none and it suggests that they are all duped cretins.
I do not blame the Prime Minister ; he is relying upon people unfit to give decent advice.
What is more , the imminent Leveson report is utter dynamite as you will see. Law reform could be the undoing of a Prime Minister, truly.


It seems so long ago when i did the very first dispute resolution webinar . I have chaired everyone since.  We will break records again with the programme starring His Honour Michael Cook and Jeremy Morgan QC . The numbers already booked with 10 days yet to go is the largest ever. It is a fine tribute to the 2 presenters.
MBL are running a costs conference in London on december 7th and that has over 100 bookings already including , hopefully , jet - setter Nicola Hoskin. See you there i hope. It is such a big event that Janine Mallon , the Queen of MBL , is coming down.
Finally , i hear that Dr Friston has generated 2 further print runs with his recent book on the subject of costs , something unheard of in legal publishing ( well until i write my memoirs , obviously ).


I have slightly gone off her since last week because in her RAGGETT judgment she was critical of the claimant for possibly not telling all he knew about a small office fire when he was working as a solicitor.
Who among us hasn't started the odd fire or two ? Really.
Paul Scrutton , marketing supremo at Frenkel Topping, recently confessed to setting his beloved 'Guardian ' alight at the Hotel Du Vin which sensibly uses candlelight in the evening.Amateur; i have started 3 fires ( that they know about anyway ) at Du Vin , twice in York and once in Brighton.They were very accomodating and now on arrival i just hand over my matches , parrafin and firelighters which they put in the safe.


There is a massive promotion coming this week with significant discounts across much of the store. Amex cardholders can buy wednesday; it is to be thrown open to all from thursday to sunday.
Best buys because they never go on sale are Diptique candles, Creed aftershave/perfume and Fracas perfume which you would only buy for someone you adored .There is to be 10% off wine but their bottles are expensive and i would not bother.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


The 2 parcels which Sean Jones QC and i recommended here some weeks ago were top tips in the Indy yesterday and the Observer today.So there ; Sean knows his stuff.


Booksellers shift more books in december than the rest of the year combined.If you are looking to buy then consider the following.
'The Works ' is a national chain of discounters which has ghastly window displays but enter within and there are tremendous buys . I bought my 2013 'Whitakers Almanack ' published at £50 and £32 on Amazon for £15 yesterday, shrink wrapped and box fresh.
' The Book People ' sell online a narrow range of titles but at prices that beggar belief.I have just got 10 volumes of the sadly overlooked Somerset Maughan for £10, crisp and new.
Amazon is stunning and do support small publishers giving them a platform that the few big chains denied them.My new 'Whos Who' 2013 came in at a 30% discount.


That says it all really.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


In the latest 'Spectator ' published yesterday he reveals his 3 books of the year to be 'Vauxhall Gardens' , 'The Italian Paintings Before 1400' and 'Castlereagh ' . The last is the biography of the most hated man in England who ended up committing suicide.Mmm.
On no account are you to mention Viz , Shades of Smut or ' Commentaries on the Laws of England ' by Blackstone. The German publisher Taschen has published a book of artistic photographs of the female form with a panic cover so that you can remove the true cover ( Ed Fox ' Glamour From the Ground Up' ) to reveal the more anodyne Blackstone beneath. Look on Amazon . How long before ' The Green Book ' turns blue ? 

Friday, 16 November 2012


The new edition has gone to print and is to be published on December 3rd.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


At the Lexis injury board meeting last night was Stephen Garner who has recently joined Old Square Chambers in London having made his mark in Birmingham. He would be wonderful with claimant clients and spoke much wisdom at our get together .

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


The highly regarded big breast litigator features in 'The Times ' magazine this saturday and quite right too; she is adored by her clients.


Just to confirm that the Court of Appeal has accelerated the hearing in HENRY which is now on early next month.


On the strength of her recent, meticulous decision in RAGGETT on November 9th it is evident that she is destined soon to go to the Appeal Court.I cannot remember such a thoughtful and thorough decision in such detail and just on quantum.


There are a welter coming up .On the 17th it is my co-writer Vicky Regan (and Les ) .Mrs Padmore on the 21st and then December 12 which isTeresa Aitken, Nico and me with the legend that is Ken Slade on the 13th.


Andrew Twambley at Amelans has today announced that the door to Injury Lawyers For You is open to all.His model is clearly what the SRA had in mind when giving an example of a lawful source of claimant work.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


There are 2 big events on in December.
On wednesday 5th an employment law day starring Sean Jones QC is on ; i will probably be making the tea.
On friday 7th we have a major costs conference that already has 100 booked on .The star is Michael Bacon , the budgeting guru, with a number of other experts all chosen by me (so no turkeys ).
Both events are in London and are organised By those nice people at MBL Seminars.


It is satisfying to see Stuart McKechnie singled out for high praise ; a silk in the making , something you could have read here for free 2 years ago.Jacob Levy also gets a decent mention and quite right to.


I am so grateful to ace barrister Simon Butler for sending me a brand new High Court decision , Jolly , published on bonfire night.It is helpful to defendants for the Judge declined to enter judgment upon acceptance by D of an offer so denying C the potential rewards available .

Thursday, 1 November 2012


Waitrose has today started a buy 6 get 25% off promotion which runs until the 6th . Fill your boots with their own label champagne .
Majestic has Vintage sparkling Pelorus on deep,discount and 1994 Rioja . The latter was the best vintage of the last century. At £19 a bottle it is my best buy for Christmas . Awesome .

Saturday, 27 October 2012


It was so kind of Matt Gibbon of Deans Court Chambers to invite me along. I was dismayed that i wasn't sitting at my usual awards table , equidistant between the toilets and the food recyling skip and but a short taxi ride to the stage.As it was i was in the front line , a heavy hint that someone in our midst was a winner and so it proved. Congratulations to Mark Turner QC.
The most poignant speech was delivered by Philip Monham of 11 KBW. He descibed his early days in Chambers , the smell of pipe smoke and polish.Alan Bennett would have been envious.
Clive Anderson was the greatest host . He exuded a love of the law and lawyers.
4 Pump Court won set of the year ; interestingly , for all that wisdom the members were incapable of lining up to have their photograph taken. They might as well have been blindfolded and chucked in a centrifuge.I exempt their senior clerk who exuded glamour.

Miss Sophie Jones

This wise young lady has chosen me to be her Godfather , a role i will take very seriously.I have already appointed a consigliore. If anyone knows where i can arrange to get horses decapitated (poor Khartoum ) drop me a ,line.

Sunday, 21 October 2012


It was kind of Cloisters to invite me to their birthday party at the Oxo Tower where i met Mark Skipp, a thoughtful young man who is plainly in the ascendency at those chambers.On leaving i bumped into Sajid Hussain of Outspire who, coincidentally, was dining at the Oxo Brasserie . He made me join him and insisted i pick good wine.Life is hard.He is saintly.
I am also indebted (again ) to the quiet but ever resourceful Matt Gibbons at Deans Court who has invited me to the Chambers awards on thursday. I can't wait.


The heavy papers today all agree that the Government has had a dire week. Well , unless it sees sense over law reform things will get worse.The 'Today' programme is seriously interested in the adverse impact of clinical negligence reform .Mindless portal extension will do more harm and the attempt to preclude claims for breach of statutory duty is risible. The employment law reform proposed by the Chancellor uniqely united everyone from the TUC to the CBI; it stinks.


If you see me at one of my talks this week ask me which Radio 1 DJ , later radio 2 , was involved in the prostitution scandal back in the 1970s.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


It is 25% off if you buy 6 bottles right now. At the cheap end their own label Pinot Noir is fine .If planning for Christmas their champagne is decent but Tesco , vintage and non - vintage , is superior.


The personal highlight was staying at Chez Jones QC where awesome 1998 Rioja was opened by my fine host. We did the Kensington Town Hall employment update together . I felt vile (nothing connected to wine ) and perhaps should have pulled out but did not.Anyway mad October is almost over although 2013 is already looking very busy .
The SRA are threatening to make an announcement about referral fees on Monday.

Saturday, 13 October 2012


The Court of Appeal is to deliver judgment on friday October 19th.

Monday, 8 October 2012


The man is back at work and sitting full -time as a very busy |Judge in the Court of Appeal . My clear perception is that he has done what wasc asked of him in constructing a package of proposals intended to secure Justice at proportionate cost and he will now get on with his real job.Nothing has changed since i interviewed him in the spring when he stood by all of his recommendations. Ramsey J has now taken over responsibility for implementation.

APRIL 2013.

Jackson is a go and the following will be with us in 6 months.
Budgeting in multi-track.
A drastic cut in the rta portal fee whilst the threshold goes up to £25,000.
A new EL/PL portal which will be a turkey (portal reforms against the advice of Sir Rupert).
Fixed costs in fast -track is back in thew frame.
A referral fee ban in injury.
The small claims limit doiubled to £10,000. Injury survives at £1,000 for now but a new consultation on lower value injury will review the limit.
Contingency fees cappped at 50% and 25% in injury.


It is definite .

Friday, 5 October 2012


John Foy QC tells me that the Court of Appeal decision is out next Wednesday. 

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


The MOJ is turning cartwheels and fixed costs  in fast track, previously abandoned , is back on the radar.I intend to write a definitive note here next week on the latest , revised thinking.


Lara McDonnell is based at 11 Bouverie St, London , EC4, at the offices of E G Arghyrakis and Co . She is ludicrously well qualified and charming.


He is back at work this week and i saw him in the Court of Appeal today.The only sign of vulnerability was a walking stick . He is as conscientious as ever and i felt sorry for the silk who asked if Sir Rupert had read any of the case papers. The skeletons , a European Court authority and background research which involved dictionaries, mainstream and medical , was the answer.It was a great case; both sides had appealed.


I have it from my most reliable source that the injury limit is not going up next year.

Sunday, 30 September 2012


Sean Jones QC and i are about to write the 'Counsel ' magazine Christmas wine list and this year have identified quality even at £3-99 a bottle . I will summarise here the knock out bargains next month.


Fran Regan, creator of the Regan dynasty , is once again making bespoke rings , bracelets and necklaces .No child labour or underlings in China and she even has her own posh hallmark.Recent projects have included wedding rings in precious metals and silver bracelets that resonate of Hermes but not funny money prices. You can see samples at ( how did that get past the Competition Commission?).  . Her e -mail is beautiful model on the page is daughter, Isabel.


There is one statement in the superb 'White Book ' commentary which is wrong .At 36.1.3 it is asserted that a defective offer can still potentially have Part 36 consequences. Well no it cannot.See 'Civil Costs ' by Dr Friston and the Court of Appeal decision in CARILLION V PHI GROUP ( 2012) EWCA Civ.588. A new supplement has been published but it only refers to one case in the Part 36 update and it is not this very important clarification of the law.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

INTERESING PSLS- the first in a series.

That Mrs Fiona James at DWF is very quiet but horribly clever.
Add caption


The announcement yesterday of a full scale Competition Commission investigation into car insurance is surely the death knell for credit hire and inflated repair bills. Incidentally , i have been given some fascinating material which suggests that a vast claims management entity which is suddenly trying to pretend that it is instead an injury marketing business is looking for kick backs from "approved " costs lawyers whom it is seeking to foist on panel members. The powers that be are already aware of this . It will end in tears.




Thanks to Alistair Kinley of BLM who went to the Court of Appeal on wednesday when it thought again about the Castle declaration.Revised guidance will appear next month.The MR stated that there were bound to be jagged edges whatever was done , suggesting that a rough and ready approach may yet prevail.Interestingly , those who protested may yet rue the day they did for the Court is now thinking about extending the uplift to claims in contract . Castle only addressed damages in tort.


I have downloaded the full report and am reading it now. Two thoughts occur.
The junior police officers confronted by the horror told it as it was.It was the more senior officers who perverted the course of justice. It is easy but wrong to blame 'The Police '.
It was almost mediaeval that it took a Bishop rather than the Judiciary to reveal the truth.Trust me , there is more that has yet to come to light . Shame upon those , be they Home Secretaries or senior Police officers or Judges, who sought to sweep mass killing under a carpet.


What was the JSB is now the Judicial College. Published this week is a new edition of the injury guidelines , produced by a new team including Stuart Mckechnie .Two developments are noteeworthy. In the introduction the doyenne of injury law, Dame Janet Smith , states that scarring ought normally to attract the same award , regardless of the gender of the claimant.Also , those who do whiplash work might want to absorb the new guidance on quantum which puts more weight upon the intensity of the problem rather than the duration of it. Two years of symptoms might amount in truth to one episode of discomfort a month.A shorter prognosis could now be worth more with the emphasis being upon the severity of the pain.

Friday, 21 September 2012


A fine morning with clin neg supremo Chris Thorne who is off to Scotland to litigate over lost sperm next week.
Congratulations to Katherine Price of Lyons Davidson who is also off to Scotland, sadly leaving Bath, to head up their Edinburgh office.


It gets better.Buy any 6 bottles , get 25% off.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


All people want to hear about is wine and not law. I give in.
Tesco is the place to visit right now.It has launched a Simply Tesco range of wines , white and red , at modest prices.Thanks to Ferdy Lovett for tipping me off about the Pinot Noir , excellent.Incidentally , the best Pinot Noir i have ever tasted was the Cloudy Bay number when treated to dinner last week by Sajid Hussain of Outspire, a noble gesture by a man who doesn't imbibe .
Paul Carroll , Manchester litigation supremo up there with Anastasia and Sue Bright, wrote today to tip me off about the Tesco Brunello , a big red for £15. Their other massive red from Italy , the Barolo, is a stunner albeit £20 ( yet cheaper here than in the country of origin).
The real coup though is that Tesco has got its hands upon a range of Taittinger champagne. Christmas is not far away. The very best buy is the 2004 vintage for £29-99, less than the normal price of the lesser non -vintage.Amazing. They also have 2 exotic limited runs , Nocturne and Prelude, which they are selling for half the normal price.The killer is the vintage but if you are seriously into great fizz then the Prelude is fascinating.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


If you are in London soon then head over to Liberty which has an astonishing promotion on for the next few days. Spend £125 on aftershave , perfume or beauty products ( easily done ) and you get a bumper bag of freebies including a baby Diptique candle which retails alone for £24. The items are mainly for women .All big names like REN, Aesop , Cowshed et al.


The blog has been quiet for i am so busy. I must thank everyone in Bury St Edmonds yesterday for their care and kindness . Today was Scotland Yard with the wondrous Annette and then to Mishcon De Raya where ace PSL Neville revealed the arrival of baby Oscar. Happy days.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Erica Bedford , successful solicitor and now traitor, has gone to the costs Bar at Kings Chambers in Manchester. A great talent and open for instructions . 


Two noteworthy books are just out . For lawyers the new Friston Civil Costs is indispensable .
For foodies Nick Lander ,the best restaurant critic in the country since Jonathan Meades left the country ( he is now living in Marseille ), has written a conspectus of the restaurant world . Stunning . 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


The new edition , published by Jordans, has now been printed and publication is imminent.It is staggeringly thorough and no litigator should be without it.

Mr Assange

Imagine my surprise when i bumped into these former associates of mr Assange at Knightsbridge tube station asking for directions to the Ecuadorian embassy. What can it possibly mean ?

Thursday, 30 August 2012


I am just back today from Paris having been over to buy my autumn wardrobe. I could have bought one at Ikea here but i do like decadent.Anyway, the next few months are crazy busy and include a session with Chris Dale , the God of electronic litigation issues , next month.There are lots of legal issues i will be covering in the next few days. My special thanks to Helen Bush at DLA and Jocelyn Kirkwood of Shoosmiths for educating me on developments. Such brains.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Above is a poster at York railway station. Which solicitor (s) have been banned for anti-social conduct on the saturday night train to Middlesborough?


Jack Straw MP has been at the forefront of recent attacks upon claimants and their solicitors. The latter make too much money, apparently. An interesting stance when , as 'The Times ' reports today , Mr Straw trousered £136,130 over and above his parliamentary salary of £65,738 (plus awesome pension benefits).I am all for everyone maximising their income. It enables one to lead a decent life and to look after children and other dependents.What is rich is a man on £3,882 a week telling solicitors who do not come near this tally that they are overpaid.
The other line ( not necessarily espoused by Mr Straw ) is that MPs say that having outside interests enables them to keep in touch and do a better job. Fine but let them give credit for those external earnings so that if they recveived more than the parliamentary salary they would not draw down a penny from the state.
Finally , Mr Assange. He confuses prosecution with persecution. I thought he was charged with offences falling short of rape. It might transpire that his alleged victims are sick in the head , have spent time in the Priory , are near alcoholics and vicious fantasists . There is utterly no suggestion of this of course so we are left with 2 alleged victims of sexual assault who have been largely ignored . I thought those days were behind us after the most shocking case of the last century , Holdsworth, where a soldier raped a young girl and the Judge , Wien J ( not Wren as cited in the Government Equalities Office report 'Has anything changed' ) said she should have put up with his exuberance , a decision shamefully upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Last but not least on 18th august 2010 Mr Assange applied for a Swedish work and residence permit.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


'The Times' today published a letter from the Director of The General Insurance Association of British Insurers whining about injury lawyers and suggesting that claimants could "receive more compensation quicker than if legally represented". Really ? I would love to see the statistics upon which Mr Starling bases this statement . The statistics i  have seen show that one of his insurers , Aviva, made a profit of £935,000,000 in the first 6 months of this year. Almost as much as the injury lawyers reap.


I am thrilled to say that Jef and i are writing a guide to the new world and we will also be delivering a free to view webcast in October thanks to Jan Miller , editor of the 'New Law Journal' . Next month the magazine will publish a long overdue article on Part 18 written by international litigator, Mary Blyth.


There are a few stunners out there at the moment.Ahead of everyone is Waitrose with a superb Spanish producer called El Guia. Both the red and rose are lovely and a steal at £3-99. The Waitrose Barossa shiraz , made by the sublime St Hallett winery , is on promotion now for £7-49. It is massive and long and alcoholic but tasty.
Marks and Spencer is generally a disappointment but their French froglet red and rose are not expensive (about £6) and if you buy any 6 bottles of wine before september 3rd you get a useful 25% discount.I also rate their Macon Uchizy , a luscious white.
Tesco finest Cote Du Rhone is fabulous and under £8.If you like fizz then some stores stock Francois Dubois which until recently was over £30 but i got one last week for £14-99. It is as good as Bollinger and £5 cheaper than Tesco own label which is brilliant too but many shy away from a Tesco badged bottle.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


We are now seeing the first budgeted cases coming to fruition. In Birmingham yesterday HH Judge Simon Brown QC gave judgement in a restaint of trade claim brought by a company called Safety Net. Whilst as yet unreported i anticipate it will be. The learned Judge found for the claimant which had budgeted at £25,000. He awarded the victor costs of £24,000 there and then , thus avoiding the costs of costs ( detailed assessment ) and directed that they be paid in 14 days so that by the end of august everything will have been put to bed when judgment was but delivered on the 15th of the month.
The transcript also threw up a textbook damages based example for next year.The claimant , perhaps out of caution , limited the claim to £50,000 which was duly awarded. The gross value of the claim was about £150,000. It would not surprise me if an award of , say , £100,000 might have been achieved.Next year the claimant solicitors could take the risk on for 40%. Both they and the client would be better off.

Saturday, 11 August 2012


As you can see Lord Neuberger MR took my advice , yet again , in organising a team -building event for the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Baroness Hale is a superb photographer. Lord Sumption sent in a note from his mom.

Friday, 10 August 2012


I did wonder why Andrew Twambley of Amelans had so much time on his hands. A visit to his website reveals that he is a specialist in cannon shot injuries.Not as common as whiplash .I fully expect the Boer war veterans to launch a test case soon.

Thursday, 9 August 2012


A dispute about the Wedgwood Museum pension fund was recently determined in Birmingham.Richard Adkins QC  was on a brief fee of £45,000 and daily refreshers of £6,000 (plus vat ). This fine man was engaged for 12 years in litigation arising out of the Gomba receivership. I don't think you are likely to run into him at Butlins this summer; perhaps the Italian tomato throwing event in Tuscany to which i was once invited might be more like it.


The Rules as to drafting and exchanging witness statements have been with us since November 1992.In the recent AAA V Associated Newspapers decision we see lawyers failing to abide by the requirement that statements be in the own words of the witness. Here, as noted in the latest 'Private Eye' , a witness statement from a foreign nanny was littered with phrases unlikely to have tripped off her lips such as "impacted negatively".
This is not the first time that this has happened.In Barclays Bank v O'Brien , a decision about undue influence, Mrs O declared in her witness statement that she was barely literate yet it resonated with terms like " without prejudice to the foregoing " and other legal lingo.
There is an important point here beyond the damage that this can do to credibility.The Mercantile Judge in Birmingham has regularly made the point when considering costs budgets that a professional who is a witness , such as an accountant or banker, is well capable of producing a first draft which might need to be put into good order by solicitors but there ought not to be a  claim for the cost of drafting from inception.
Budgeting is around the corner as are the other big Jackson reforms.Be afraid .Be ready.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Dr Friston on Costs

It goes to the printers this week and the new edition will be published at the beginning of next month.Hurray.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Poor Lord Neuberger is going to have his hands full.There are obvious rifts . The very recent Solihull decision saw Lord Mance, with elegance , slap down new boy Lord Sumption .See paragraphs 49 and 50. Some very ,very senior Judges resent the arrival of the latter without having served his time at the harsh end first.
A team -building and bonding exercise is called for. Lord Neuberger and i travel together on the Eurostar to Paris so why not take the court to Disneyland ? Two minor issues. Lady Hale may have a problem going on Big Thunder Mountain because of height restrictions and no one is allowed to jump the queue , however bright they might be.

Saturday, 4 August 2012


The CJC has published a report recommending how these should work. It is full of sense save that i believe that there ought to be a cap on the maximum percentage that can be taken from the client. Limits are proposed for various areas and indeed in the Employment Tribunal we have had a cap of 35% , a topic i , and others , advised the Government upon.I do not see why an upper limit of 50% should not be the ultimate ceiling in every type of DBA funded claim.


I could not decide which sight filled me with greater woe yesterday. Was it the Christmas department in full swing or the Non-alcoholic Champagne at £22-95 a bottle? Bonkers.


If you are going to throw a party do it properly. The event on the roof this week was textbook with wine fiend Shantanu Majumdar having chosen Laytons Champagne . Other members of the Cambridge litigation mafia , including Leanne Davis, were there .A happy hour .

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


The consultation paper has just been released. The lady with the tea leaves got it right yet again.Now for the lottery.


I wrote here on June 1st that a Cabinet reshuffle was being planned . The papers today report that Ken Clarke QC will be moved on and Ian Duncan Smith is suggested as his replacement.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Both Ben Williams and Robert Marven have joined 4 New Square.


I only found out today that Richard Moorhead has been headhunted and is off to join UCL. Lucky them. He mentioned on his blog a criminal case called R V MOMODOU (2005) which i had not heard of .Some years ago Lord Woolf declared that coaching witnesses was noble , something i did not agree with. In Momodou the Court of Appeal identified real drawbacks with the process in eloquent terms.


At long , long last it seems the consultation paper will be out this week.

Monday, 30 July 2012


The perennial problem of categorising a person working for you has just been visited, again , by the Court of Appeal in HOSPITAL MEDICAL GROUP V WESTWOOD.Here , a doctor undertook surgery for a private hospital and was found to be a worker .
What caught my eye was the dual specialisms of the doctor , namely , hair restoration and trans -gender issues. Odd bedmates.I am sure Dr Westwood is exemplary but it did strike me that someone less proficent could get confused.Imagine saying to the patient as they came round "I'm sorry but you aren't going to have anymore hair on your head than before. On the positive side you have a fabulous new vagina.Do you have any questions at all , Mr Rooney ?".


I forgot to mention Camilla Church at 39 Essex st who is highly regarded  by Clyde and Co  . David P

Thursday, 26 July 2012


Mr Assange has instructed yet another legal team. I cannot recall one person burning through so many in so short a period to deal with one issue. ' The Wall Street Journal' today reports that the latest lawyer is a Spaniard , Mr Garzon. I do recall that Mark Stephens was first instructed and he is a sound litigator.


Each year I list those barristers and Judges who are on their way up.When I first mentioned Sean Jones he was a junior. He is now a silk and employment Judge . Stuart Mackechnie has become the youngest member of the Judicial College working on pi damages guidelines. Erica Bedford is a costs barrister who is just about to start work at the Bar but she has a first class pedigree having qualified as a solicitor and her mentor is Dr Mark Friston , surely next in line to take silk as a costs specialist. Louise Green and Ed Pepperall are both barristers who have had real success in heavy employment law disputes . The latter is also on the committee looking at Part 36. Sean Jones QC is a cert for the Bench whilst Stuart Mackechnie and Simon Butler both shine in complex injury claims. Shantanu Majumdar is superb in Chancery and Commercial disputes . Nicholas Bacon QC is involved , rightly , in every significant costs dispute going. Turning to the Judiciary , the world has caught up with HHJ Simon Brown QC who has been training the Bench on how to manage costs through budgeting . Macduff J. ought to be in the Court of Appeal or else promoted to a position as High Court costs supremo. His decisions on both champerty and vicarious liability have received ringing endorsements from the Court of Appeal. Rix LJ and Elias LJ deserve a seat in the Supreme Court and I fully expect Jackson LJ to become MR at some point. Finally , a barrister is nothing without a good clerk. The team at Deans Court are widely praised as is Lucy Barbet and Mike Goodridge .Nothing is too much trouble for him whether it be borrowing a room in case of emergency or disposing of a body. I have never asked him to lend me a room , mind.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Claims in this area are legion . Claims management companies , typically taking a cut of 25% , are bombarding lenders seeking repayment . The allegation is that the borrower was not told that the cover was optional.In a typically punchy judgment HHJ Simon Brown QC , the one Mercantile Judge that everyone has heard of , has slung out a claim and awarded indemnity costs against the claimants . There was a welter of contemporaneous evidence to show that the lender , Central Capital Ltd , had advised the claimants , Mr and Mrs Goodman , that cover was optional.A bad bargain perhaps but a lawful one . It beggars belief that it could ever have been issued yet alone taken to trial.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


On the assumption that you are about to leave the country here are a few thoughts.
1. Best High St exchange rate is Debenhams rather than M and S.
2. Buy pharmaceuticals and toiletries here. Ibuprofen 33p Superdrug , £8 in Venice.
3. Some shops and restaurants give you the option of paying by card in pounds rather than euros or dollars.Don't do it. It seems sensible but the catch is that the vendor will convert into local currency at a rate of their choosing which will not be favourable. Pay in euros or whatever and you get the mainstream bank exchange rate which is better for you.
4.If off to Paris on the beloved Eurostar you can buy French Metro  tickets with English money or euros at St Pancras customer services on the right after security. Do it. The queues to buy at Gare Du Nord are long and some dubious types lurk there.
5.If taking a taxi from Gare Du Nord ignore the taxi sign telling you to go right .Instead , turn left and exit the station via the enormous glass doors near platform 16. There is a rank opposite without any queues.
6. Dont drink a flagon of red wine in Provence all by yourself. It will scar you for life.


My special adviser on Italian wine back safe and well . We just need to wait for the Chianti to wear off and top tips will no doubt oooze out.
Meanwhile i at last met Annette Machin who got me through security and into Scotland Yard.
And a kind note from barrister Louise Green who gave me the idea for a whole article on dubious employees which is in the New Law Journal this week.
Last but not least ace info from a distinguished gentleman who gave me the lowdown about this ABS blah blah.I thought it a mess , now i know it is.An application for ABS status was submitted by this eminent litigator on January 3rd.Nearly 7 months later and nothing. Hopeless.

Monday, 23 July 2012


There is a sudden awareness that the almighty development over the brow of the hill is not the ABS but the Jackson reforms or those which are being implemented ( some have been abandoned). I am now advising law firms , insurers , local authorities and some boomerang bearing boys on what is really going to happen and how they should prepare for a very big bang.
Interestingly , one large insurer client is looking at the ABS path but i have urged them to hold tight until the reforms are implemented.


The Spanish El Guia wine which i praised last month was the top buy and headlined in ' The Times ' last saturday. There is red, white and rose. I would go for the red but all are a steal at £3-99.


The Court of Appeal has handed down a very important decision which anticipates extending the duty of care in negligence. The claimant was a social worker who was badly injured by a mental patient.She asserted that not only her employer owed her a duty of care but also that 2 NHS Trusts did as well.Plainly , she was not an employee of either trust.Her case against them was that they knew the patient had uttered threats of violence and so to release him from care was culpable as was the failure to warn her of the risk he posed.Caparo was distinguished; this was not an argument about owing a duty to the world at large but rather a clearly identifiable potential victim.Thorpe LJ made the point that in care work it is very much about inter-disciplinary skills being applied and co-ordinated. Social workers are vulnerable and deserve protection.The attempt by Beachcroft to have the claim , brought by Thompsons , failed.

Saturday, 21 July 2012


I went with Michael Bacon to this enormous event. I caught up with Camilla Church who is a great injury talent and Hefin Rees who specialises in Barbados litigation .The shock news was that Jef Mitchell , head of claims at the MOD, is going to leave next June. I do not know how they can replace him. The surprise news was that Graham Dickinson is going to be a father again, 28 years after the last one.
Robert Jay QC was mellow with that inquiry soon to finish. How long before he is on the High Court bench ? Frock of the evening for 2 years in a row went to Susan Rodway QC.


Here is a man to admire. He works very hard dealing with ghastly criminal cases and is high up in the Chimpanzee Society ( whether he is high up in chimpanzee society is another matter but he is ace at peeling bananas).
Anyway, i have word from a decent person in the MOJ that the Judge has been called in to see the Lord Chancellor. The 'problem' is that in a hearing the Judge considered the advocates so bad that , understandably , he began to gently bang his head on the bench.Note that he did not do what Peter Smith J. did which provoked a recent rebuke from the Court of Appeal and that  was to make his mind up on the documents without wanting to hear argument. On the contrary, HH Judge Carr was listening . It was what he heard that caused him to hurt himself and no one else.


Well he has now taken up his seat in the Supreme Court and indeed wrote the unanimous judgment in ORACLE V M-TECH which declared that Lord Neuberger and his gang in the Court of Appeal were wrong.On 1st October Lord N is sworn in as the new head of the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


In a wonderful collaboration the soaring ACL and indeed the soaring HHJ Simon Brown QC are to produce a film demonstrating costs management and budgeting in practice . A priceless idea. The Judiciary undergo a day of Jackson training in January . The innovative Birmingham Court also now sees some DJs using I pads . Unlike the hype of ABS and Tesco Law this is actually happening and is beneficial to all.


He has written a superb piece in the latest 'New Law Journal'attacking the use of dumb terminology and in particular the attempt to call clients customers . The special fiduciary duty , the bond of trust and privilege , between solicitor and client is undermined by meddling with clear , established labels. One eminent member of the Court of Appeal is rightly driven to distraction by the inane but ubiquitous "inappropriate " which embraces anything from sexual misconduct to buying someone a book they didn't expect .
Today the Daily Mail has managed to refer to both plaintiffs and industrial tribunals ; see my rant of yesterday .

Monday, 16 July 2012


Welcome back to the best in the country , Nick Lander, who writes on saturday for the FT. He is miles ahead of the crowd. Poor Michael Winner , as depicted in the Sunday Times, looked like he should be in bed with a Lucozade.


They were abolished on 26th April 1999.Perhaps the next time Leigh Day brief 'The Times' on a piece of their litigation , as is evident on page 3 today, they will point  this out to the journalist concerned .The BBC is no better and it  fondly talks of industrial tribunals , also redundant.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


Fact. Lord Neuberger was only the Master of the Rolls until he attended the ACL conference last month. He is now , rightly , the new President of the Supreme Court.


The superb decision of MacDuff J. in the Portsmouth church/child abuse case has been affirmed by the Court of Appeal. On july 23rd the Supreme Court will address the question of whether vicarious liability reaches beyond the narrow confines of employer/employee in another depressing case about perverts .


There are 2 stunners on special offer right now , both of which are dead ringers for serious French bottles.
The white is the 2011 Australian Wolf Blass chardonnay at £6-66 rather than the usual £9-99.It is Burgundian and should be decanted ! The 2010 threw half the people taking the evil Master of Wine exam last year , who thought it from Burgundy. The exam is so difficult ; it would be like sitting the Accounts exam in Chinese.
The red is in classic Bordeaux style but from South Africa.Rustenberg John Merriman and is under a tenner right now.
Jancis Robinson who suggested the decanting tip above has a list of good value wines in the FT today.My special adviser has been despatched to Italy to look for good bottles as Sean Jones QC and i are soon to put together our Christmas list.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


The Minister has produced a written answer which shows an outbreak of common sense . Financial restrictions will not apply so anyone can use QOWCS. The proposed threat to award costs where a claim was unreasonable has been jettisoned . Costs can , rightly , be awarded if the claim is dishonest .There is also mention of a possible Practice Direction on the new proportionality test which I consider essential if we are to avoid yet another wave of satellite litigation.
Whoever is advising on QOWCS has done a good job and is to be congratulated.


I have written before that I believe , contrary to others , that litigation will grow and work will not evaporate.
In the latest spat between Russian oligarchs , Cherney v Deripaska , which began in the High Court yesterday we have a claimant suing here even though he cannot even enter the country ( the Spanish have an arrest warrant for him ). There is something risible about the Spaniards and law enforcement since Barcelona is populated by thieves galore who rob visitors with impunity and target mothers with young children knowing they cannot give chase.

Monday, 9 July 2012


Shrewd VAT investigators smelt a rat when a company that declared sales of £2.2 billion paid a total of £17-74 in VAT ( Guardian page 18 today ).
Meanwhile , 'The Daily Mail' , which Mrs P is trying to stop me reading , reports that Demi Moore is addicted to laughing gas . If you see a Hollywood legend lugging a large canister about giggling uncontrollably then you know who it is .


Swift J. is hearing Raggatt , a case of alleged child abuse going back decades. Meanwhile, more rich Russians kick off in the Commercial Court and John Terry is in the dock.

Friday, 6 July 2012


As ever this was a spectacular do hosted by joint senior clerk , Lucy Barbet, at her London house.It was the 30th birthday of Chambers . Sadly , Anthony Blair , as he was at the Bar , did not attend . The great employment silks were there -Goudie , Jeans and Jones. Great fun .

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


You will find, free to view, on the epiqsystems website a webcast of the panel discussion staged by them last week and featuring a host of legal brains from both sides of the Atlantic. The topic was , inevitably and rightly , electronic disclosure considerations and where we are going. The topic is fundamental to all litigators even though some do not yet recognise this.

Monday, 2 July 2012


I would not be best pleased if someone were to steal my penis.This fate befell both Napoleon and Tutankhamen . Souvenir hunters took their bits . It now emerges that a grave robber has stolen the teeth of both Brahms and Strauss .Strange but true.

Saturday, 30 June 2012


The ever shrinking 'Guardian ' reported yesterday that a lady was 7 weeks pregnant as a result of reading a popular piece of smut called '50 Shades of Grey'. I thought i ought to warn my readers of this danger. Much more erotic ,( i find ) is the new edition of ' Friston  on Costs' , of which i have been given an advance copy.And it can get you out of trouble rather than into it.


The ever vigilant Stewart Simpson at Weightmans has kindly drawn my attention to the Commercial Court case of BAKER V AXA, justb repoerted at BAILLI. Well worth a read.

Friday, 29 June 2012


I did a talk this week for and with Alan who is adored by Lord Justice Rix as will be seen in the recent WEDDALL V BARCHESTER secondary litigation about whether a solicitor should pay the costs of his losing client. I sense big law in the making . More is bound to come , the recent decision just dealing with disclosure relevant to the issue.


After a hush hush meeting yesterday afternoon it was off to the launch of a new edition of 'Lewis and Buchan: Clinical Negligence' . With no less than 16 contributors it is a great book and the update is long overdue.I had already read the causation chapter by Simon Dyer which is alone worth the price of the book. The publisher , Bloomsbury Professional , put on a great show and served wine that was of the same quality as the tome. Thanks to Caron Heyes and John White for the invite.


I was treated to a fine lunch yesterday by Anthony Sebastian , the great Fleet St solicitor . He bemoaned the fact that he could not find a litigation partner to join his niche firm.The ideal person would have some following but rest assured the firm has good clients too . I said i would mention the opportunity here. You can contact the man at

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


The Supreme Court has just handed down a unanimous decision in Fairclough Homes v Summers. Can a genuine claimant who dishonestly inflates a claim be struck out for abuse of process under CPR3.4 ? Yes , and even after trial, BUT the court could not come up with a single hard example of where this would be a proportionate response and the judgment fizzled out with an allusion to a massive attempt to deceive the defendant . It is just not going to happen , ever.Forget it. I have a 900 word article about this in the 'New Law Journal' which is published tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Here are some interesting bottles to look out for.
If you like lovely Australian Shiraz then St Hallett Faith is superb for a tenner. This company makes the ultimate Old Block shiraz which is £30 .
Waitrose are about to take delivery of El Guia Tinto , a Spanish red , for £3-99. I do not comprehend how they can do it but they can ( a Jancis R tip).
My special adviser tells me that Alter Ego , made by Chateau Palmer , is a stunner. I await the evidence (hopefully in a magnum ).

Sunday, 24 June 2012


Coming this week is a paper from the Law Commission which proposes drastic changes to the very core of insurance law. The duty of utmost good faith and disclosure means that , at present , an insurer can lawfully repudiate a claim for , say , fire damage where the insured has not installed burglar alarms as required by the insurer even though there is no causative link between damage and default. That is all wrong says the Commission and we go into consultation until the autumn on reform which looks like imposing a clear obligation upon the insurer to ask rather than for the insured to volunteer.


Not more , you groan . Well yes. Poor Sales J. after staggering through a 95 day trial in F & C LTD V BARTHELEMY stumbled at the final post in his 303 page judgment. He sought to grant Part 36 rewards where an offer had been made but it was conspicuously not a Part 36 [proposal. One cannot import Part 36 rewards into the general costs regime. Judgment is (2012) EWCA Civ. 843 published on june 22nd.


His Honour Judge Gosnall sitting in Leeds has delivered an impressive judgment in LEVI V BATES 7th June 2012. it is to be found consigned , disparagingly, under England and Wales -Miscelllaneous on the BAILLI website. It is a rare example of a quantum award , here £10,000, made against the colourful football club proprietor Ken Bates.Strange but true - the owner of the great fish restaurant , La Favorita , on Venice Lido knows mr Bates well and has a Ken  photo album.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Congratulations to my good friend Jeff Zindani for selling on a consignment of injury cases for more than perhaps he ever envisaged ! it must be a case of caveat emptor for any purchaser since the new proportionality test now approved by the Rules Committee will generate great uncertainty . Who knows what value work in progress will actually be worth ? I was with His Honour Judge Gore QC yesterday and we were agreed on this point .


Thanks to hotshot Matt Gibbons for telling me that the Supreme Court decision in Summers is out next Wednesday .

Monday, 18 June 2012


I am not making this up. I have just received an e -mail reminding me of the deadline for the Insurance Fraud Awards. Most  whiplash claims in a month ? Finest female to pretend they have had a limb amputated ? Can you hear the scraping of a barrel ?


The big three are
1.Budgeting -law and practice. No surprise as it is coming to almost  every multi-track case next April and in the one decision on the pilot scheme a claimant kissed farewell to £293,000 (plus any uplift ) for getting it wrong.
2. Advanced Part 36 and settlement problems
3.Litigating post Jackson - a guide to how things will be different under the Act and the new Rules of Court.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


Vertigo is a superb red wine i had not encountered before. If you do go also look out for Jermann chardonnay and , great but not cheap, Fratta made by Macullun, one of the best reds on earth.
Strange but true - ascend the campanile in St Marks Square and you get a tremendous view of the city but you cannot see a single canal from this mighty vantage point.


Well if it is legitimate for RSA to 'enhance' repair claims it must be valid for every other insurer to do the same . The Government is doing all it thinks it can to reduce the costs of motor insurance claims; it will not be happy .


The question of when the military enjoy immunity in conflict is to be considered by the Court of Appeal for 3 days starting on june 25th.

President of the Supreme Court

3 names are in the frame; Hale , Mance and Neuberger. If the appointment is to be made on grounds of wisdom then the Master of the Rolls is my choice.


That well known bent metal practice in the east end of London, Herbert Smith, has won the preliminary hearing for RSA in a substantial dispute about repair costs. Mr Justice Cooke ( who first qualified as a solicitor ) held that in principle there was nothing improper in the insurer claiming the market cost of repairs even though it was paying less to the repairing garage. An appeal may well ensue. The losers were represented by Beachcroft.
See COLES V HETHERTON Commercial Court june 15th on the Bailli website.

Friday, 1 June 2012


At the last count i have identified 21 ways to be caught out by the fiendish workings of Part 36. Do let me know if you would like an in-house visit to explain them and how to avoid them.


Some should be seriously worried about the OFT intention to refer the repair/credit hire market to the Competition Commission. John Fingleton at the OFT is the most effective Chief Exec i can think of in Government.
IF evidence of price -fixing came to light then , on the crininal front , we have a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and to defraud , whilst massive penalties based on turnover (not profit ) can be imposed.


There is to be one this summer and you might well see change at the MOJ.
The obvious man to put in charge is Sir Ranulph Fiennes . On an expedition that was being filmed he suggested that his young female companion should stage falls in order  to generate some excitement.She did so and was injured . The noble Knight offered , in exchange for "a full disclaimer" , a cheque for £200. On the Fiennes tariff whiplash would be worth a bag of Haribo and paraplegia a colour tv.

Thursday, 31 May 2012


You know you want it. Waitrose, for the first time since Xmas 2010, is running a buy 6 get 25% off promotion. Top buys include Sonoma Cutrer chardonnay which is already on sale so the deal means you get it for half the price it was last week. Their own label champagne is superb and if you want to push the boat out you can buy the stunning 2002 Moet vintage for about £30.
I am off to Venice so shall be quiet for a few days.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


As i indicated at the weekend Mr Assange has lost his appeal. The judgment published this morning was a 5-2 majority one.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


Om Tuesday and Wednesday this week the RSA repairs bill litigation is in the Commercial Court with an indication already that judgment will be reserved for 21 days . On Wednesday Mr Assange gets his bad news from the Supreme Court.


A consultation paper of 188 pages is ready for publication.

Sunday, 20 May 2012


This crazy story has already reached Australia . I had a note from Liz Harris , the great costs expert.
What will frighten some advocates is not the bizarre entry of this entity into the market but rather the company insistence that chaps wear a decent shirt and tie. Hermes will make a killing.
Other companies are thinking laterally. In the United States FedEx , the parcel delivery company , has started Tech-Connect , a subsiduary that repairs i -pads , blackberries and the like. The company invented the handheld package tracking device and has now moved with the benefit of that knowledge into what is a $15 billion dollar market. Clever .See 'Fortune ' magazine may 21 at page 107.


You might expect the most expensive newspaper in the country to produce a sensible story but the 'Financial Times' of saturday 19th may at page 4 produced a dire piece.It claimed that spurious deafness claims were the new whiplash con. And how were these despicable dodgy claimants being enticed into making claims for non-existent injury ? They were being offered hearing aids!
I must concede that these incentives work. i was not going to do anything about my breast implants but now that i have been offered £500 to spend on lingerie for myself at La Perla i will be litigating with the rest of them.
There was , buried in the FT piece , a serious point made by the highly regarded John Latter of Zurich. There is a big rise in claims and perhaps a sensible scheme , agreeed by all parties , might help.

Saturday, 12 May 2012


Look out this week for HENRY V NEWS GROUP INTERNATIONAL , a defamation case where some costs went well over the approved budget set 10 months before thev trial.What is a good reason for exceeding the budget ? The thoughts of the Senior Costs Judge will be appealed , i believe , whoever wins.


I am just back from the Association of Costs Lawyers which was a staggering succcess.Judges, QCs and normal people too turned up in their hundreds and there wasn't a dull moment.Lord Neuberger MR gave a punchy talk and intimated that the hourly charging rate is doomed . Furthermore, if Jackson doesn't work the next step is to abolish costs between parties altogether.His warm up man was His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC who stunned the audience by conducting a costs management hearing before the masses. i heard so many pennies drop. Brilliant.
Michael Bacon , the Godfather of costs, was there to see his trainee win the award for highest marks in the exams (again ).
Dr Friston had the happy glow of a man who has just delivered the final text of his updated costs bible and Erica 'disco nap' Bedford explained to me her confusion over going on honeymoon to Vienna not Venice ; good job she is so clever to know that Vienetta is not a popular destination.
Iain Stark as chairman was hyper -active , ensuring that it all went to plan.
I had a long chat with the newly appointed Distict Judge McIlwaine , living proof that the MOJ can get something right. So thoughtful , so decent.

Sunday, 29 April 2012


The MOJ is making noises about a big announcement coming this week on whiplash litigation . Might they increase the small claims limit here ?

Monday, 16 April 2012


The latest edition of 'The new law Journal' contains an invaluable guide to active case management and budgeting written by the man who has been doing it for an aeon, His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC. It is an essential read for every litigator who wants to survive next year.

Sunday, 15 April 2012


I am just back and will be writing the city up for 'Counsel magazine'. Meanwhile , 3 random impressions.
At a shop dedicated to selling nothing but vacuum cleaners i saw the assistant sweeping the floor.
The most elegant , well dressed lady ran a shop selling knuckledusters, CS gas cannisters and Rambo knives.
French high speed trains are amazing and arrive early at their destination.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


I have just completed an update of my commentary on this treacherous part of the CPR in preparation for a talk at a magic circle firm.Drop me a line if you might be interested in telling your C V D from your AB V CD and you are not sure about JOYCE or THEWLIS.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Forget ISAs , bonds and all that other muck. Buy postage stamps which will appreciate massively later this month. The nice lady at the Post Office in Bath slipped me some first class Bunty comic specials.


The Supreme Court is to hear the Summers appeal on April 18th and 19th. Can the Court strike out the entirety of a genuine claim if it includes an element that is dishonest ? Should the claimant forfeit everything ? Craig Sephton QC leads for the claimant ; i do not suggest that this claimant is guilty of any wrongdoing.Thanks to the ever reliable Martin Leech for the details.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Thanks to Google analytics i find that i have a significant following in South Korea (what? ) and , more promisingly, in Altrincham (wherever that is ). A sweet note today from Ellen Melhuish (cool name ) indicated that non- lawyers are also onboard. Crazy but lovely.
I always despaired that the English legal system was parochial , isolated, but i was put right by Chris Dale who told me that concepts like discovery/disclosure were of universal interest. How right he was.Our recent Lexis webinar , along with the sublime Shantanu Majumdar, broke yet another record as the most watched legal webinar in English legal history .My invites to go speak in New York and Melbourne next february prove the point. If you are interested in disclosure , classical or electronic, read the Dale blog. It is without equal.


On my previous jaunt i had Lord Neuberger MR get on followed by Pete Docherty. Last sunday it was the entire Jonathan Ross ensemble. Mrs R hair a pale pastiche of Anastasia . Odder and odder.


It was so kind of Matt Gibbbons of Deans Court Chambers to invite me to attend this great event organised by Lady Hilary Meredith. Andrew Twambley never left her side all evening , which was fine but she did visit the ladies twice. i am sure Mrs T will understand .
Matt was recommended to me as a clerk in the ascendency by Mike Goodridge , who as senior clerk at 9 Gough knows his stuff. I met so many good people , not least Martin Leech, who supports Matt and is just great fun.
Of their barristers i got to talk to Tim Smith , fresh from the trigger litigation , as well as Zoe Earnshaw and Richard Whitehall. Pascale Hicks studied in Bordeaux . No fool her.They were all normal and bright . Whoever recruits is doing a good job.
I had a surreal conversation with Alison Mc Cormick of Outer Temple chambers who told me that she didnt think i existed. I think that too sometimes but anyway she now thinks i am real . Her instructing solicitor from Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield had the happiest smile and laugh but her identity remains a mystery.
Former model Ruth Graham was pretty in pink and the whole evening was lovely which is not how most legal bashes are.
 The summer party held by 11 KBW is awesome so ask Lucy if you can go. Last year the Court of Appeal had an informal hearing in the middle of the dance floor ( to 'Get Get Down ' by Paul Johnson).Fabulous.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


The judgment has just been published and the claimants have won (4-1).

Tuesday, 27 March 2012


Thank you to Tonyof CEDR for sending me an early copy of FAIDI V ELLIOTT CORPORATION ,  a recent ADR judgment from the Court of Appeal.When Sir Rupert Jackson mentioned this yesterday i was able to nod knowingly.Bingo.


My thanks to a rising star in the  Judiciary who kindly drew my attention to a piece in the 'Metro ' today. A claimant won a libel action based upon comments made by the defendant on Twitter.That novel form of publication aside, the Judge upped the damages by £15,000 because counsel for the defence had referred to "lies" or variants thereof 24 times in his closing speech. That equates to £625 a time , the biggest swear box in legal history.
What intrigued me was that the barrister , Ron Thwaites QC, is by far the best tactician and cross-examiner i know and there must be more to this.Costs were £400,000 which would , yet again , have Lord Justice Jackson tearing out his hair . Leave to appeal on quantum granted.


The sunshine was a good start.I stayed last night at a brand new hotel in Serjeants Inn off Fleet St where my real legal career began. I went to visit Simon Walton , a partner in Thompsons whose hq was there long ago to interview him for my dissertation. By the end of the interview he had offered me a job.
I dropped into the Court of Appeal to see Sean Jones do his last case as a junior. Mummery LJ congratulated him on taking silk and then Sean opened the appeal with such elegance that i was reminded of tthe line in Blazing Saddles -"Mr Lamarr, youn use your tongue prettier than a 20 dollar whore".Quite.
Next to  Lexis for a webinar that set another record for viewers. Chris ' i have a jet to catch ' Dale and Shantanu Majumdar were in cracking form and i just sat back and admired them attacking disclosure and privilege. Bliss.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


I have miraculously completed a big writing job early which means that writing days set aside in june are free.
Should you want an in -house session on Part 36, Jackson and /or otherwise do drop me a line.Thank you.

Friday, 23 March 2012


Next friday i will be in Paris when Sean is elevated.He is just the best employment barrister i have ever met and , much more importantly, is the kindest of the kind. We are appearing together at the Jordans employment law conference on april 25th . Great fun.


When i heard of this i feared it might have been his doppelganger ,Paul Scrutton, who had been lifted but a kind note from him last night saying thanks for a wine tip suggests he is still at large (somehow ).
Anyway, if you like stunning red Bordeaux then Majestic has a special parcel of 2008 Paulliac , Ulysses, at £18 which mysteriously doesn't identify the producer. I bought some and thought it could be Latour.Paul who knows tons more has now confirmed my wild guess to be right.It is declassified so not Latour Latour but it is from that veritable house.The real stuff is a minimum of £400.Think of it as the smart, pretty cousin of the big one.Fabulous.Fill your boots.


A bumper day with David Cobb sending me the new 'White Book', general editor Sir Rupert Jackson.It would not surprise me to learn he has a window -cleaning round at the weekend.
Dick Warner of Class Legal sent me the new edition of their 'Costs and Fees Encyclopaedia' which is mighty handy as their are over 300 differeant fees within the civil process.Very handy as it contains the text of the key costs rules including Part 36. It is £50 but ACL members who cite the code ACL 2012 get it for £45.
Stewart McCulloch, a man with a fine litigation pedigree , sent me a collection of cuddly toys.
No champagne or free Eurostar tickets .Yet.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


I had a lovely time at Charles Russell today with Lynne and Julia and sandwiches which were as impressive as the lawyers asking me evil Part 36 questions. Simmons and Simmons is the other firm in the city that puts on a banquet for a lunchtime talk. A well -fed audience is a happy one.

Monday, 19 March 2012


The Court of Appeal handed down a unanimous decision this morning which overturned the first instance decision in BARR V BIFFA. This was a group action launched by residents who objected to odours wafting from a landfill site. What is sad is that the parties are required to start over again in test cases worth but tens of thousands altogether whilst the costs of each side exceed £3m. The trial Judge got waylaid with a mass of authority . Yet again rugged and early case management might well have pointed the parties in the right direction.


Chris Dale ,the closest I have to a guardian angel, has invited Me to speak at this enormous electronic disclosure event in London on November 15th.I have accepted.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


On tuesday Mrs Justice Slade is to hear an expedited appeal challenging an odd practice in the Southampton tribunal.Some claimants are being ordered to set out their case on one side of A4 , not easy in a whistleblower case involving 13 alleged disclosures.
Having been closely involved in case management in the High Court I would suggest the order is perverse and am frankly puzzled as to how the presiding Judge in Southampton could possibly countenance this activity.There will be cases that could be stated on a postcard but one must retain some flexibility.

Friday, 16 March 2012


Ben Posford has kindly sent me the story of the barrister struck off for forging the signature of Lady Hale. It is neither clever nor funny to imitate great lawyers. If you agree with me then drop me a line at lord.denning ( really).


Now called non-freezing cold injuries , this condition only warrants a 25% success fee. So held the SCCO yesterday.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


There is always some miserable , negative individual out there.On the up side i wanted to mention the following decent sorts.
Rebecca of Tristar Costs was so helpful in Liverpool today as was the greatest costs practitioner, Michael Bacon ,who  always makes me happy as he did yet again.Erica Bedford has been expelled from the shoe shops of London and kindly invited me round to tea.
Bethan Darwin , partner at Cardiff hotshots Darwin Gray, sat next to me on the train and tried to explain the nuclear vets decision to me. Interesting as she is an employment lawyer who came on a talk i did in Newcastle in 1992. She had a better grasp of the new decision than i did!No surprise there.
Finally , Rachel Prime is leaving the Solicitors Group. Nick Bevan, Simon Butler and i will miss her so .


The Association of Costs Lawyers big costs conference kicks off on may 11th.Get a ticket if you have even a mild interest . Speakers include the Master of the Rolls, the Justice Minister,HH Judge Simon Brown QC who has turned down an all -expenses paid trip to Toronto to attend and others including me.
I am so proud of how the ACL has stormed ahead .


The 'Daily Telegraph' today reported that an unfortunate recipient of £5 breast implants who paid by credit card was reimbursed the cost of £3,700 by Lloyds TSB on the basis that the goods supplied were defective.


DJ Smedley in Liverpool  began hearing yesterday a series of cases as to what was a reasonable premium in portal costs. Whatever the outcome , it is intended that there will be a leapfrog appeal to the Courrt of Appeal.


Having very recently had my arm (rather than my fingers ) burnt by a London set of chambers that i have helped repeatedly and gratis i thought i would simply never help any barristers again. Having had a good heart to heart with the great Michael Bacon today i have relented.Ignore them from now on , he advised . It is their loss.
It was the Liverpool Law Society costs conference today and all speakers were superb.One barrister spoke with real wisdom and passion . He was David Pilling at Liverpool Civil Law . His command of rta portal issues was stunning and i want to draw him to your attention.I am confident his head of chambers isnt the sort of person who happily trousers £20,000 on a brief yet thinks someone else is only worth £200.


The Supreme Court has today published the nuclear test veterans judgment. By a 4-3 majority the claimants were thrown out(as i predicted ).
At least we now have a clear statement of the law in a 79 page judgment as to date of knowledge and exercise of discretion following a 4 day hearing where 3 silks and 4 juniors appeared.
No we don't.The judgment is all over the place and Lord Walker , with utter candour, said at para.68 of the transcript that the decision "will not be an ideal source of guidance in lower courts". There are massive contradictions and even those who seemingly agree with one another don't.
Thankfully the claimant solicitors were acting on a cfa out of a sense of duty rather than for financial gain. Just as well since they will not get their costs put at £17.5 million (para. 106 of the transcript ) and will be liable to pay the winning defendant .And that bill was for a preliminary issue only; limitation.
My profound thanks to Ken 'ask me anything 'Slade at Weightmans who got a hot transcript to me whilst i was talking at Liverpool Law Society.Interestingly , he got the result right 3 years ago when we discussed this.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


There is no intention to make Jackson retrospective. Clumsy drafting was the cause of panic.The aim was to make it clear that a collective CFA in place before the date of reform (april 1 2013) would not enable a new claimant signed up post reform to recover. Thank you to Vicky Cargill and Mark Friston .Incidentally , the newest addition to the costs bar, Erica Bedford, who was admitted wearing Loubotins is refusing to go back to Manchester from her hide out in the Selfridges shoe department.I will post a picture of her soon as i had a complaint last week that my blog is full of blondes. Might i gently point out that this is a legal blog (with wine ) .

Monday, 12 March 2012


It is directory time with 2 requests so far today from different publishers for my opinion on solicitors and baristers.


Could it be that all additional liabilities would cease to be recoverable from April next year, regardless of when the cfa was created ? That is the thrust of an amendment which surfaced on Friday.
I asked Lord Justice Jackson about this earlier today . No one has consulted him and the concept looks fatally flawed and probably unlawful.

Friday, 9 March 2012


On Monday Tony Guise has kindly invited me to join his panel at the sold out commercial litigation conference being held at Hogan Lovells .
Also in London on march 15th I am doing my latest public talk on Part 36 for MBL seminars.
If you want something more exotic June 27 sees me talking in Munich in English .


The decision on limitation in the nuclear test veterans case is out on the 14th and the long awaited trigger insurance judgment is likely to appear in the following week.

Thursday, 8 March 2012


I have been agonising over the inability to spend more than 160,000 on a new four wheel drive car.It has been miserable. Imagine my joy when i read in the FT today (page 22) that Bentley "will solve this problem " with a new model. I could hug Mr Durheimer , MD, for solving my problem.


My interview with Lord Justice Jackson has now been posted on the New Law Journal website and is free for all. He had some remarkable things to say and did not pull any punches.The link appears below.


I am just back from speaking for 2 days at this event which was packed out.For some inexplicable reason there were slightly more visitors to the High Court Enforcement stand where sublime bottles of 2002 vintage Moet were being handed out than to the Frenkel Topping stall where Cadbury creme eggs were available.
I was kindly taken to lunch at Tate Britain which has the best value wine list in the country.To go with my best friend and friends made it even better.A happy day.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


As of Tuesday last week there was not a woman on the solicitors panel looking to oversee a proposed group action.Russell Jones and Wallaby employ some extremely talented females . They should be involved.


My interview with Lord Justice Jackson will appear on the New LawvJournal website in the morning with free access for all. It will be in the magazine too which has just gone to print.

Monday, 5 March 2012


The claimant in THOMPSON V MIDDLETON suffered soft tissue injury when shunted 4 feet by a car that ran into his vehicle. Applying the Jack Straw mantra the claimant would get nothing for it was a low speed collision.The Court of Appeal thought nothing a tad mean and so upheld £461,007.The court thought the defendant was lucky to get off so lightly.So there.
The decision of march 1st is on the British and Irish legal website.


Thanks to Stewart Simpson for bringing to my attention the High Court decision of JOYCE V WEST BUS COACH SERVICES (2012) EWHC 404 (QB). The High Court came to the eminently sensible decision that a party which had been struck out could not accept a Part 36 offer made by the other side. True , the offer had not been withdrawn but the very purpose of the provision is to enable a claim to settle. Having been struck out, there was no claim extant to settle.


The long awaited consultation should be out this side of Easter with a 3 month consultation to follow.


The Law Society, MASS and APIL have put forward a package to preserve but reduce the recoverability of additional liabilities.I had 45 minutes with Lord Justice Jackson on Thursday morning. Unsurprisingly , he thinks the proposal hopeless. No longer ought a claimant to be able to choose a method of funding which is more advantageous to his lawyers than an alternative.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


May i just point out to my ever widening audience that Mrs Padmore is a happily married women .That is the story we have agreed upon anyway. Those who recall my Dennis The Menace days will know i am honourable.Ish.


Today is the day that those who applied will find out if they have been successful.Should you see any junior ordering magnums of Dom Perignon 2002 today be very suspicious.

Monday, 27 February 2012


My thanks to HH Judge Simon Brown QC who sent me a judgment from New York handed down on february 24th. How international we have become.In DA SILVA MOORE V PUBLICIS Judge Peck , the loveliest and most genial of men , approved predictive coding as a legitimate method of securing the just ,speedy and inexpensive resolution of disputes.Coding consists of training a computer to comprehend which documents are relevant , with feedback being given on a core set of documents. This enables the custodian of the documents to point the system in the right direction and it will then undertake a thorough search , narrowing down the mass to a more manageable shortlist.
 Some worthwhile observations include the declaration that it is a myth that a  manual search is more effective and the statement that it was very helpful to take to court your technology expert ( also known as "Bring your geek to court day" ). Ouch.


It is reported that Charlotte Church has pocketed £600,000 as a victim of being hacked. Horrid as it must have been, is it right that damages should be so high? I asked our leading p.i.  barrister , Stuart MacKechnie , what was the maximum an injured person would get for their injury. In an instant he told me that quadriplegia and very severe brain injury attract £265,000. Madness.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


A trial is due to begin in New Orleans on monday.There are 116,000 plaintiffs , 300 witnesses and 72 million documents which if printed and stacked would soar 4 and a half miles into the air.It is the action for damages against BP for losses caused by the Deepwater pollution disaster . What is amazing is that the incident only happened on April 20 th 2010.It is a staggering tribute to Judge Barbier that he actively managed so much so quickly . This is precisely the Jackson/ Brown model of case management that we so urgently need in our own juridiction.


I have just got back from Manchester where i was with the great RSA team including Sue Bright , one of my oldest friends. and the Birmingham head of legal, Sarah Padmore ( the person on the left of the picture ) who lives in sunny Harborne and who is just the kindest of people.  I had a long chat with David Graham whom has mellowed enormously. As i approached he put down his book , 'Finding Your Female Inner Self ' and sipped at his Elderflower presse , having renounced alcohol . Loise Doherty organised the event as brilliantly as ever and to top it off Roy Hughes , DLA training supremo, said hello this morning .Too much.


I am so grateful for the patronage of Chris Dale , the Godfather of electronic disclosure, who has set me up to talk in Munich at the end of june. If you want to know what is really going on in the field then read his blog which also contains stupendous travel writing too.

Friday, 24 February 2012


On march 16th the Court of Appeal is to hear LETTS V RSA. Where an offer is accepted is the court bound to give the claimant their full costs ( the costs of the proceedings under 36.10 )or is there a means of denying costs to penalise unreasonable conduct ?


The decision in Dockerill has just been released by the Court of Appeal. It is already on the British and Irish Legal website .

Thursday, 23 February 2012


The SRA has instructed Tim Dutton QC to defend the decision not to lift a finger against a female Manchester injury solicitor ( now on the other side of the world) who was creative with a bill. Your money is being well spent.


Congratulations to Erica who was admitted to the bar today. She will make an almighty impact in costs law . So glam that she makes Kate Middleton look like a Bolton bag lady , it is unfair that she is so clever as well.And a wedding in December .

Monday, 20 February 2012


These are interesting times. I am helping a magic circle firm with Part 36 tactics , an international company looking to acquire personal injury firms here and a top 100 firm seeking to identify and eliminate litigation risk.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


It is getting heavy.This week Helphire received an onerous demand for information from the OFT. Others got similar letters. There is no suggestion that they have done anything whatsoever that is improper but Government has waded into the whole car insurance market and a big fuss is inevitable.


A female   claimant personal injury specialist  ( or so her profile says ) solicitor in the Greater Manchester area is , unbeknowns to her, at the heart of a major dispute involving the SRA and whether  she should be struck off for unprofessional conduct. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, a District Judge in Stoke on Trent has found that a claimant solicitor falsely misrepresented the views of counsel on quantum and yet should get off without any penalty. Ludicrous.

Saturday, 18 February 2012


The most successful export from West Bromwich since the Jensen Interceptor, John Foy QC, had a great result in SIMCOE this week. Interest on costs runs from the date of the order rather than a later date when costs are quantified.The decision of HH J Stewart QC in Toner was overturned.
What is interesting is to look at the bill of Irwin Mitchell in Simcoe. The claim settled without a trial for less than £13,000. The bill was 6 times the quantum. When Jackson kicks in we will see fixed costs in the fast -track and no recovery of additional liabilities.This would mean , i believe , that the costs recoverable from the defendant will be akin to the damages. That is an enormous reduction in costs for the claimant.

Sunday, 12 February 2012


It has been decided that every potential  employment tribunal claim must first be filed with ACAS. No longer will the claimant have immediate access to the tribunal.
Sean Jones and i are to write a chapter on employment tribunal costs for the new edition of the bible on civil costs , Cook , to be published in november this year.


The MOJ confirmed on thursday evening that the non-injury small claims limit is to go up to £10,000 as i said it would here on 7th October last year,What is more, there is the threat to bump it up to £15,000 after a period of reflection.A compulsory reference to mediation is intended.
The High Court threshold for claims is to go up to £100,000.

Monday, 6 February 2012


High court judges in their current costs training are being (rightly) told to ignore the majority view in Medway. Fox , decided shortly afterwards, says that the winner should indeed have their costs.Jackson was right all along.