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International Construction Law Conference

 TCC International Construction Law Conference is to be held on 24 September 2012 in London. Details can be  can be downloaded here:

The conference, organised jointly by SCL, TeCSA and TECBAR in conjunction with The Technology and Construction Court features a unique gathering of international construction law professionals commemorating the opening on the specialist courts complex at The Rolls Building in London. Highlights includes sessions chaired by TCC judges, a conference session run by US and Canadian professionals, a drinks reception attended by the Lord Mayor of London and a Conference Dinner at RCJ.

His Honour Judge Toulmin CMG, QC

 It was with great sadness that TeCSA learned of the recent death of His Honour Judge Toulmin CMG, QC.  I am sure I am not alone when I say I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to stand before and alongside Judge Toulmin on both a professional and personal basis.

Professionally, called to the bar in 1965, his first appointment of note was as Chairman of the Young Barrister’s Committee in 1973. Judge Toulmin CMG QC continued to impress as a barrister, being appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1980, and appointed Recorder of the Crown Court in 1984. A promotion followed, to become an Official Referee in 1997, then a Judge in the newly named Technology and Construction Court in 1998.

Judge Toulmin is to be thanked in the world of adjudication law for deciding a point parliament has now legislated upon in Part 8 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009. It was the case of the yellow banana, the slip rule. Bloor Construction (UK) Limited v Bowmer & Kirkland (London) Limited (2000) the issue was whether the adjudicator could alter his own decision to correct a clerical mistake or error arising from an accidental slip or omission, and if so in what circumstances.

These are but small examples from a long and illustrious career.  We have a lot for which to thank Judge Toulmin.  He will be sorely missed across the industry.

Simon Tolson

 

Things may never be the same again!

The Master of the Rolls has called for a debate on scrapping disclosure and live evidence in commercial cases. “Mainland continental Europe manages largely without disclosure and live witnesses, and the result is not the collapse of society,” Lord Neuberger said. “More importantly the result is much cheaper litigation. And, in these days of increasing cost-consciousness, that is very important and it is something which should make us sit up and think – especially when some of those courts are offering English language hearings.”

Jacko’s changes postponed but on their way!

Implementation of Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has been deferred to April 2013 (from October 2012). Part 2 deals with litigation funding and costs and implements Jackson LJ’s recommendations for civil litigation costs reform.

When Sir Rupert Jackson’s cost reforms are finally implemented there will be significant changes to the CPR in store for us all. We here reliable gossip that CPR 3 will see change.

While the headline Jackson reforms continue their progress through Parliament, the Rule Committee has been working on changes to the Civil Procedure Rules that will introduce some of the judge’s less controversial recommendations. But they are no less significant for that. Sir Rupert Jackson has been giving a series of lectures on his reforms, the most recent of which deals with the assessment of costs. The changes will affect litigation cases of all sizes, but they are all being held in abeyance until April 2013. TeCSA will keep you posted as we hear more.

It’s pretty clear these new rules will give the judiciary the tools they ‘need’ to take control of case management without being seen to be meddling. However many solicitors doing specialist work do fear that the art of the possible in very large cases will be lost, as has been the situation on a terabyte plus datasets with standard disclosure under CPR 31 and 10 month TCC timetables for massive cases. 

Case management backfires

In January Bevan Ashford faced legal action over advice given free of charge by a newly qualified solicitor. Given the number of firms out there offering a free half-hour of advice to new clients, it is no surprise that so many solicitors have commented on the story.

But there is a whole other aspect to the case, which might affect how far judges are prepared to go in future when it comes to managing trials. Padden v Bevan Ashford was an example of quite daring (if ultimately flawed) case management, at a time when Lord Justice Jackson and the senior judiciary are seeking to instil a ‘change in culture’ towards a more hands-on attitude to managing cases by judges. But in this instance it backfired.

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