News

Solicitors “at risk of contempt finding” by signing statement of truth in bogus claims, judge warns

Mr Justice Warby

The High Court has raised the prospect of solicitors who sign statements of truth on behalf of fraudulent clients being held in contempt of court. Mr Justice Warby suggested that the Civil Procedure Rule Committee should look at the issue.

December 7th, 2017

High Court: Litigation funding documents protected by legal advice privilege

RCJ portrait

The High Court has ruled that a set of litigation funding documents were protected by privilege because they inferred the substantive legal advice that had been given in the underlying dispute. The court also said that it was “not part of our law as to disclosure that every conceivable stone must be turned over”.

December 7th, 2017

Pre-LASPO CFA was validly transferred to new firm, Court of Appeal rules

Neil Hudgell 2017

The transfer of a conditional fee agreement from one law firm to another around the time of the Jackson reforms was valid and the success fee can still be recovered from the defendant, the Court of Appeal has ruled. However, in a split decision, the court ruled that it was a novation, rather than an assignment. The decision has been hailed “a tremendous victory for the solicitors’ profession”

December 5th, 2017

High Court: Barristers may be entitled to lien but legal expenses insurers are not

Signature

Barristers may now be entitled to same lien that solicitors can have over the proceeds of litigation, the High Court has suggested, as it ruled that legal expenses insurers do not. Though there were good historic reasons for barristers not having a lien, it said it was now difficult to identify any reason why they should not.

December 4th, 2017

MPs urge “complacent” government to consider mandatory mediation to cut clinical negligence costs

Meg Hillier MP

The government has been “slow and complacent” in its response to the rising costs of clinical negligence and should consider mandatory mediation for certain types of claim, MPs said today. They also criticised the Ministry of Justice for not assessing the impact of its various reforms and understanding how they may lead to more claims.

December 1st, 2017

New hot-tubbing and ‘costs of costs management’ rules come into force

percent sign

Variations that judges can adopt in orders for concurrent expert evidence – known as ‘hot-tubbing’ – came into force last week, along with a new provision that clarifies how the costs of costs management should be calculated.

December 1st, 2017

More evidence needed to justify discount rate change, MPs tell government

Bob Neill

The government needs more evidence on how claimants invest their damages before changing the discount rate, MPs said today in a report welcomed by claimant lawyers. The Lord Chancellor, David Lidington, asked the justice select committee to review its draft legislation amending the way the rate is handled, and the result today was a report urging caution.

November 30th, 2017

High Court: 10% part 36 uplift applies to damages plus basic interest

rcj 2

The High Court has made it clear that the additional 10% uplift on damages the courts can award for beating a part 36 offer means an uplift on damages plus basic interest. It also said the court’s focus under part 36 must be “upon the conduct of the litigation”, and not on “whether the claimant had led a blameless life up until the moment when a tort was committed against him”.

November 30th, 2017

Administrative birth injury claims scheme to start in 2019, says Hunt

Newborn baby boy

There is “strong support” for the key aims of the government’s planned administrative compensation scheme for birth injury claims and it will hopefully go live in 2019, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed. The ‘rapid resolution and redress’ scheme forms part of the Department of Health’s maternity safety strategy.

November 30th, 2017

Court of Appeal rejects NHS challenge to taking out clinical negligence ATE at start of case

surgeons

Clinical negligence claimants can continue to take out after-the-event insurance for expert reports when they enter into conditional fee agreements, and premiums will be recoverable even if the case settles before the reports are commissioned, the Court of Appeal has decided in a major ruling today.

November 28th, 2017

Leading judge warns litigants not to start playing games over “minor procedural glitches”

Mr Justice Coulson

The incoming deputy head of civil justice has warned parties not to abuse the courts’ tougher approach to rule compliance. Mr Justice Coulson said applications based on “minor procedural glitches” were on the rise, having all but dried up following the 2014 ruling in Denton.

November 28th, 2017

Press regulator backs low-cost arbitration in “access to justice” bid

News of the World

A voluntary newspaper regulator yesterday launched a dispute resolution scheme that requires an up-front payment of just £50 to kick off a legal claim, with a further £50 payable only if the case goes to final ruling. The scheme was set up by IPSO, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, created in the wake of Lord Justice Leveson’s  inquiry to replace the Press Complaints Commission.

November 28th, 2017

Court of Appeal: ATE that can be voided is not adequate replacement for security for costs

A blank file in a filing cabinet

After-the-event insurance which can be voided does not constitute adequate security for costs, the Court of Appeal has ruled. Overturning the decision of Mr Justice Snowden, it said the case raised “important questions of principle” because there may be a tendency for judges at first instance to accept that an ATE policy can stand as security for costs.

November 23rd, 2017

CPRC: no need yet for new privacy rule on costs in environmental cases

Bird

There is no immediate need for the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to introduce a new privacy rule for certain costs issues in environmental cases as it could conflict with its open justice review, it has decided. It was responding to a High Court ruling that said hearings about costs protection limits should be held in private.

November 22nd, 2017

Scientists and lawyers team up to provide evidence primers for judges

Inaugural Harbour Litigation Funding Annual Lecture - 8 May 2013

The judiciary has worked with the Royal Society to create primers on scientific evidence as a working tool for judges. The first two cover DNA fingerprinting and techniques identifying people from the way they walk from CCTV, so as to assist the judiciary when handling forensic scientific evidence in the courtroom.

November 22nd, 2017

Blog

All I want for Christmas is…

Stack of documents and papers

This is my valedictory blog for 2017. I am grateful to my loyal reader for enduring the polluted flushings of my diseased mind over the past six months. It has been fun to write and I hope that I have given the reader an insight into the world of a litigation flaneur. Before I bid you happy holidays, I would like to share with you my two wishes for Christmas. For the avoidance of doubt, these relate to litigation finance and not my personal desires, which include a solid gold house, rocket shoes and the power to become invisible at will.

December 12th, 2017

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