Litigation and things

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.

Service by Facebook

In February 2012 Stephenson Harwood became the first UK firm to file a court claim via Facebook. Mr. Justice Teare empowered SH for broker TFS Derivatives to use the social networking site to track down former employee Fabio de Biase as part of a suit brought against the company by investment manager AKO Capital. The method of serving court papers has precedent, with those innovative types Down Under in Australia and New Zealand having already filed claims using the social networking site.

It’s a salutary message that it is just as easy to ignore a Facebook message (for some) as it is to ignore a letter dropping through your letterbox. But the assumption will be that Fabio de Biase, will have received his message – particularly given the lively media attention attached to its method of delivery.

Fees nice

Weil Gotshal & Manges’ fees on the Lehman Brothers administration have reached almost $400m (£254m) as of March 2012, as the bank emerges from ‘bankruptcy’ more than three years after its collapse, reports The Am Law Daily.

e-disclosure still biting solicitors backsides
We hear that although apparently email was 20 years old on 11 March. 2012 and that might seem like a long time in the legal world (in London think 1996), two decades is barely the blink of an eye, so perhaps you would expect the process of e-discovery to have a few rough edges.
But Mr Justice Ramsey in the High Court has found a solicitor of client West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) went beyond the realms of patience when it cocked up the e-disclosure process and ordered it to pay £135,000 in wasted costs.

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