Question of Ethics

Question of Ethics is supplied by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. We publish one question a week, which will over time build into an invaluable resource on ethics issues. If you have a question you would like us to ask the SRA ethics team to answer, then e-mail us at

High Court makes third-party costs order against UKIP for blocking settlement of libel claim

rcj 2

The High Court has made a third-party costs order against UKIP, after the party took a “political” decision to block the settlement of a libel claim against one of its MEPs. Mr Justice Warby said that by the beginning of March 2015, “a decision had been taken at a high level within UKIP” that the claim should not be settled before the general election.

February 20th, 2018

Parker and Marshall to lead working group on clinical negligence fixed costs

Andrew Parker

Two of the ‘big beasts’ of the injury world are to lead the new Civil Justice Council working group set up to consider fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence claims with a value of £25,000 or less, it has emerged. Leading defendant insurance lawyer Andrew Parker has been named chair, with David Marshall vice-chair.

February 19th, 2018

Put your own house in order, claimant lawyers tell NHS as fixed fees near

Jonathan Wheeler

Claimant lawyers reacted with caution to the Department of Health’s announcement yesterday that it is setting up a working group on introducing fixed recoverable costs in medical negligence, saying that while costs could be cut in lower-value claims, the real goal had to be avoiding clinical mistakes in the first place.

February 16th, 2018

Therium raises £300m as litigation funding opportunities continue to grow

Noel Edmonds

Third-party funder Therium has completed the first close of its new £300m, its largest fund to date. The first close is at £200m with a further £100m expected before final close. The investors include both Therium’s existing major investor and new global institutional investors.

February 16th, 2018

Government agrees to further discussion of clinical negligence costs regime, amid concerns


Four out of five respondents to the government’s consultation on fixed recoverable costs in low-value clinical negligence cases have echoed Civil Justice Council concerns about a single joint expert being used, it has emerged.

February 15th, 2018

Court of Appeal castigates judge who thought litigant with severe depression was “putting on act”

Gloster LJ

A senior circuit judge who “clearly thought” that a litigant with severe depression was “putting on an act” has been strongly attacked by the vice-president of the civil division of the Court of Appeal. Lady Justice Gloster said the judge “did not explain why he felt able to reject the doctor’s view” of the “plainly ill” litigant.

February 15th, 2018

Investors increasingly attracted to third-party funding, law firm’s research finds

Geraldine Elliott RPC

The top 20 UK independent litigation funders now hold assets of just over £1bn, a 42% increase in just 12 months, according to research by City law firm RPC. It attributed the rise to continued investment from private equity firms and hedge funds in “this increasingly popular alternative asset class”.

February 14th, 2018

CPRC backs rule changes to ensure courts sit in public

Private Sign on a Door

The Civil Procedure Rules Committee has backed rule changes to ensure that courts sit in public “irrespective of the parties’ consent” unless certain strict conditions are met. Its open justice subcommittee said there was no “right” to a private hearing, for example where personal finances were being discussed, and a “change of culture” was needed.

February 13th, 2018

Legend Solicitors selects market-leading Proclaim Case Management Software solution to replace its current system

Eclipse Legal Systems

London law firm, Legend Solicitors, is implementing the Proclaim Case Management Software solution from Eclipse Legal Systems, the sole Law Society Endorsed legal software provider.

February 12th, 2018

Pre-trial 90% part 36 offer was “genuine attempt” to settle


The High Court has rejected the argument that a part 36 offer to settle a clinical negligence claim for 90% of its value was not a genuine offer because it was made shortly before trial. Mr Justice Foskett said it would extremely difficult for the paying party to show that an offer did not reflect a realistic assessment of the risks of the case.

February 12th, 2018


The misleading claims behind the campaign to lower the discount rate

Matthew Best Temple Legal Protection

A coalition of organisations which represent the NHS and health professionals has made strong claims in a letter to justice secretary David Gauke that the legal costs of clinical negligence claims are crippling the NHS. Similar comments were made by the National Audit Office (NAO) in September last year and yet the case doesn’t hold water. The letter was signed by the NHS Confederation, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, British Medical Association, Family Doctors Association, Medical Protection Society, Medical Defence Union and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland.

February 9th, 2018