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Procedure

SAR – judge’s notes

Can a judge’s handwritten notes be disclosable under a subject access request?

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SARs – revised Code

The Information Commissioners Office has updated its code of practice on subject access requests. This is largely to reflect the recent court decisions (noted in our April 2017 issue, p31). In particular, the code has altered its guidance on when a data controller can claim that it will require a ‘disproportionate effort’ to comply with the SAR.

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Arbitration – time limit

The time limit for challenging an arbitration award is 28 days. This short time limit reflects the underlying policy of Arbitration Act 1996, namely the finality of arbitration awards. Note that the time limit of 28 days runs from the date the award is made (not the date on which the award is released to the parties). This is a very important point, since in commercial arbitrations there will often be a delay before the award is released to the parties. This is particularly so if the arbitrator’s fees are outstanding.

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Pleading – protocol compliance?

There is still confusion about whether it is necessary for a claimant to state in the claim form (or particulars of claim) whether they have complied with the relevant protocol.

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RCJ – outdoor clerks

Are we seeing the end of the outdoor clerking profession? The introduction of electronic filing and working (CE-File) in the Rolls Building (soon to be called the Business and Property Courts) has virtually abolished the need for outdoor clerks in those courts – and it must surely be a matter of time before others (eg QBD, Senior Costs Office, and the Mayor and City of London Court) follow suit. With CE-File there is simply no need for outdoor clerking.

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Data protection – subject access requests

These days, subject access requests (SARs) are becoming increasingly common as a civil litigation ploy to obtain information that might not otherwise be disclosable (or to get it disclosed at an earlier stage). In short, SARs have become a tactical tool in litigation. 

Making a valid SAR is straightforward and inexpensive. There is no prescribed format provided it is in writing – indeed the code of practice specifies that data controllers may not insist on the use of a particular form. A written SAR can be made by post, e-mail, fax or even social media. It does not have to be labelled as an SAR, nor make any reference to DPA 1998. Generally, the maximum fee that can be charged by data controllers for dealing with an SRA is £10; a response must be provided promptly (and in any event within 40 days).

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Judgment – asset-stripping

To what extent can a judgment debtor dissipate (or strip) assets to avoid them being available to meet the judgment debt?

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Non-party – reputational damage?

To what extent can a non-party appeal a court decision because it affects their reputation?

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Costs – interest

It is worth remembering that costs attract a very healthy 8% rate of interest.

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Charging orders – interim

Charging orders are a powerful tool for enforcing judgment debts. Imposing a charging order on land owned by a debtor is equivalent to getting a mortgage over the property. The procedure for applying for a charging order is set out in Part 73:

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