Bar Council issues warning over plan for extended court sittings

BAR Council

Forthcoming plans for courts to start earlier and finish later will disadvantage barristers with children and do not take account of the cab-rank rule, the Bar Council has warned. The barristers’ body was making a pre-emptive strike on HM Courts and Tribunals Service proposals, expected next week

March 24th, 2017

Master validates party’s defective delivery of part 36 withdrawal because of new discount rate

Business on a laptop

A High Court master has allowed a party’s bid to withdraw a part 36 offer ahead of the new discount rate coming into force on Monday, even though they used a defective method to deliver it. Master Yoxall said it was “no secret” that the claimant wanted to withdraw the offer because the new rate nearly doubled the value of the claim.

March 23rd, 2017

NHSLA set for revamp as government eyes move away from litigation for injured babies

Jeremy Hunt

The NHS Litigation Authority is to be renamed NHS Resolution as part of a “radical change” of approach to handling claims, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced. It comes in the wake of government plans for a new administrative compensation scheme for birth injury cases that aims to significantly reduce the amount of litigation that currently takes place.

March 22nd, 2017

High Court overturns security for costs order against chief’s son

City of Lagos, Nigeria

The High Court has allowed an appeal by a son of a Nigerian chief against a security for costs order made against him. Mr Justice Newey overturned a recorder’s ruling that Clifford Chuku, one of the 37 children of Chief Friday Chuku, did not live in this jurisdiction and could be treated as a “nominal claimant”.

March 21st, 2017

Girl’s damages increase hugely in first settlement under new discount rate

Leonie Millard

The High Court has settled what is claimed to be the first case following yesterday’s change to the discount rate, awarding a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsey an increase of over £5.5m on her capitalised settlement, which had been calculated before the new rate at nearly £3.8m.

March 21st, 2017

Defence union accuses Truss of legal error in setting new discount rate

Chris Kenny (Sep 13)2

Leading counsel has suggested that Lord Chancellor Liz Truss erred legally in both the process and substance of her decision to change the discount rate, a leading medical defence union revealed last week as it hinted it may yet challenge her over the move.

March 20th, 2017

Lord Chief Justice urges City firms to allow partners to join bench

Lord Thomas_crop

The Lord Chief Justice has issued a plea to large law firms to allow their partners to seek judicial appointment, saying it was in the interests of both the nation and the firms themselves to do so. He told City firms that he appreciated “how difficult it is for partners within a firm to release the most able of their number”.

March 17th, 2017

Budgeting uncertainty set to roll on until Merrix appeal

Gary Knight2

The fall-out is continuing from the recent High Court decision that budgets bind the parties at detailed assessment unless there is good reason not to, although it seems clear that parties are waiting for a definitive ruling from the Court of Appeal.

March 16th, 2017

ABI tells insurers to “keep up the pressure” over discount rate

James Dalton

The Association of British Insurers has urged its members to “keep up the pressure” on the government over the discount rate, suggesting that changing it could fill the £2bn hole left in the nation’s finances by yesterday’s u-turn over raising National Insurance contributions for the self-employed.

March 16th, 2017

Litigant in person network goes live to co-ordinate support for access to justice


The Litigant in Person Network – an online platform which aims to connect a wide range of people with a common goal of improving access to justice – has gone live this week. Co-ordinated by the Litigant in Person Support Strategy, the pilot project is supported by the Legal Education Foundation.

March 16th, 2017

Trial judges should not “trammel” costs judges’ jurisdiction when parties go over budget


A deputy High Court judge has refused to provide a receiving party with an “indication” of whether it acted reasonably in exceeding its costs budget, saying trial judges should “not seek to trammel the costs judge’s jurisdiction” unless there are specific issues they want to raise.

March 14th, 2017

Burford unveils sharp increase in profits but warns over lack of ATE for big cases

Chris Bogart colour

Litigation funder Burford Capital has announced a 75% increase in net profits for 2016, taking the figure to $115m (£95m), while warning the government that the Jackson reforms had made it impossible to provide after-the-event (ATE) insurance for “large and complex” commercial cases.

March 14th, 2017

Lord Chief Justice unveils ‘Business and Property Courts of England and Wales’

Rolls Building

The specialist civil courts are to be known as the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales from this June as part of the push to maintain the jurisdiction’s international reputation post-Brexit. The move, which has the “strong support” of Lord Chancellor Liz Truss, will also enable “more flexible cross-deployment of judges”.

March 13th, 2017

High Court overturns costs judge ruling that holiday claimants should have used ABTA mediation scheme

Beach holiday

Claimants who litigate instead of using an available ADR scheme are not automatically acting unreasonably, the High Court has ruled. It overturned a costs judge’s decision that holiday claimants should have used the Association of British Travel Agents’ mediation scheme rather than litigate.

March 9th, 2017

Discount rate change will not reduce future profitability, says Admiral – as Hammond reveals £6bn NHS price tag


The change to the discount rate should not have a “significant impact” on future business and profitability because premiums will rise across the market, insurer Admiral said today – although it calculated the immediate cost at £150m. The news came ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond revealing in the Budget that he is putting £5.9bn aside to cover the NHS’s extra costs.

March 8th, 2017


Proportionality – not just a matter for detailed assessment

Stack of documents and papers

Proportionality is one of the major issues that we find we are dealing with at the end of a matter, particularly in the small-to-medium-value claims. Why was it introduced? It was considered that the then existing system was not working and that a system needed to be put in place which would “promote access to justice at proportionate cost”. In 2009, Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony May said: “Assessments which have to concentrate retrospectively on what the winning party has spent will always risk producing a disproportionate result.”

March 29th, 2017

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John M Hayes

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