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.