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.