The Practical Lawyer


Negligence – value at date of claim relevant

Many miners developed a condition known as vibration white finger while employed by the National Coal Board, as a result of which in 1999 the government set up a standardised, tariff-based compensation scheme for former miners suffering from this complaint. The scheme was designed to enable large numbers of claims to be resolved promptly and economically without the need for conventional litigation and made two types of award to claimants suffering from the complaint which corresponded broadly with general and special damages for personal injuries.
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Court fee – disallowed

 If a claimant in a case is on benefits, they will probably be eligible for a fee remission. This allows access to courts and tribunal services either free of charge or at a reduced rate. Liverpool CC has recently heard a case where the claimant’s solicitor incurred a £455 court fee and treated it as a disbursement expecting to be able to recover the sum under CPR 44.3.
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Legislation – can be ignored if not HRA-compliant

The SC has reached an important decision regarding the interrelationship between government regulations and human rights legislation. The context was a judicial review of the regulations governing the removal of the spare room subsidy, otherwise known as the ‘bedroom tax’.
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Jurisdictional challenges – the basics

An article considers a recent SC case in which litigants have been criticised for the way in which jurisdictional challenges are being conducted. The case concerned a group of some 1,800 Zambian villagers who issued proceedings against a natural resources company which has its HQ in London.
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Trial bundles – careful preparation required

Rather like buses, one waits for judicial comment on court documents and trial bundles, and then two come along at once. An article discusses a recent case in which the court was unimpressed with the claimant’s approach to the trial bundle, saying that its impact would be felt not just in terms of costs but also in the judgment on the trial. A CA case has also stated that a failure to follow the practice direction on the citation of authorities can lead the parties to expect the cost of preparing a non-compliant bundle of authorities to be disallowed.
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Documents – access by non-parties

The SC has clarified the extent of the court’s discretion to allow non-parties access to documents in a civil claim. Previously, civil claims have relied heavily on oral evidence, arguments and judgment which anyone present in court could hear. However, much more written material is now involved in cases eg statements of case, disclosed documents, skeleton arguments and written submissions which result in a written judgment. Thus, for non-parties, the proceedings may be difficult, if not impossible, to follow without access to these documents. An interesting article discusses an SC case which considered the extent and operation of the principle of open justice in terms of what access non-parties to litigation should be given to the written material and how.
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Costs – proportionality

The HC has considered a case on the approach to be taken by a judge when assessing proportionality using the test as per CPR r44.3(5) which states:
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DPS – eight months on

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p30) about the fact that the Disclosure Pilot Scheme (DPS) came into force on 1 January 2019. It will operate for two years in respect of all new proceedings in the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle.
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Serving overseas – check the rules

 It might sound obvious, but if a firm is instructed to serve proceedings overseas, the firm must ensure that the rules of service in the relevant country are properly observed. The CA recently considered a case applying for permission to extend time for service of a claim outside the jurisdiction. 
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Solicitors witness statements – disregarded?

The HC recently considered a case involving the redevelopment of two properties. The facts of the case are secondary to the interesting comments made by the judge in relation to the practice of solicitors providing witness statements in litigation. The judge said that: 
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Most-read articles

Civil partnerships – heterosexual couples
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations 2019 are in force as of 2 December 2019 and permit heterosexual couples to enter into civil partnerships. Read more...
VAT reverse charge – postponed
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A useful article analyses the potential implications of the reverse charge on VAT, which was due to be introduced for specified construction services in October 2019 but which has now been... Read more...
Electronic communications – practitioners beware
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A useful article by Hardwicke Chambers reminds practitioners of the risks of a hasty or ill thought out email or social media post. The writer cites a situation where an email from a solicitor to... Read more...
Jurisdictional challenges – the basics
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
An article considers a recent SC case in which litigants have been criticised for the way in which jurisdictional challenges are being conducted. The case concerned a group of some 1,800 Zambian... Read more...
LiPs – tips for dealing
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Litigants in person (LiPs) are on the increase due in part to legal aid cuts and an increase in the small claims limit. Maintaining the balance of treating LiPs fairly, while also acting in the best... Read more...
‘Elevation’ – front and rear of building
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A 99-year lease contained a covenant prohibiting T from making any alterations to the elevation or external decoration of the property. Read more...
L changing locks – an act of surrender?
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
There are various ways in which a leasehold estate in land may come to an end. One of these is surrender by operation of law. Sometimes the surrender of a lease does not take place by deed but is... Read more...
Beneficial ownership – reminder of key points
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Practitioners who advise co-owners on the acquisition of property will find a recent article reviewing the case law on beneficial ownership very useful. The key points are: Read more...
Sanctions – vexatious litigant
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
In long-running divorce and financial remedy proceedings, R was found to be an ‘exceptionally vexatious litigant’ throughout. Mostyn J made a general civil restraint order and a protection from... Read more...
Disciplinary process – external bodies
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
 A useful article considers two recent cases on the issues that can arise for employers carrying out a disciplinary procedure when an external body becomes involved eg a regulatory body, police, a... Read more...


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