REUTERS | GCS

The thorny issue of a client’s rights to a Solicitors Act 1974 assessment of fees has raised its head again recently in Masters v Charles Fussell & Co LLP. Quite rightly within that statute are timelines or limits on the client’s rights to such an assessment. A client cannot reasonably turn around months, or even years, after the event and expect to have maintained those rights.  However, most agree that the “strict” timelines are unrealistic in the modern world of interim invoicing and that some areas of the rules have become, or remain, opaque.

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REUTERS | GCS

In a recent case before the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division), Clyde & Co, acting for the claimant, obtained an order for service on the defendant of a judgment in default via Instagram, after attempts to serve the judgment via post and personal service were unsuccessful.

Service of documents on evasive defendants is a common challenge for claimants. From no (or inaccurate) address or identity information, to defendants simply refusing to accept documents, the hurdles to service can be manifold.

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REUTERS | Carlo Allegri

In a recent judgment, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) failed to recover £354,000 from a solicitor in intervention costs in what is an important ruling when considering the use of res judicata and abuse of process.

Mr Hugh Sims QC, sitting as a deputy High Court judge in The Law Society v Dua and another was asked to consider whether the solicitor, Ashoo Dua, and her husband Shashi Dua had a realisable beneficial interest in various properties despite an alleged trust in favour of their children. The SRA intervened into Mrs Dua’s practice in 2009 and, following an unsuccessful challenge, obtained judgment and a costs order in its favour.

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REUTERS | GCS

In the case of Just Digital Marketplace Ltd v High Court Enforcement Officers Association and others, the High Court considered the issue of enforcement using consensual video appointment for the purpose of entering into a “controlled goods agreement” (CGA).

Master McCloud held and declared that it was lawful for an enforcement agent to enter into a CGA with a debtor without physically entering the premises on which the goods are located.  However, due to inconsistency in the associated regulations, a non-entry CGA would offer limited enforcement options if breached.

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REUTERS | GCS

It was just over a year ago (on 16 January 2020) that the UK government announced that TV cameras would be allowed to broadcast from Crown Courts in England and Wales for the first time, sweeping aside centuries of legal tradition.

At the time, it seemed revolutionary. The Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020 would allow the broadcast of the sentencing remarks of High Court and Senior Circuit judges, in a move that was heralded as a landmark. Yet, just two months later, the UK was to be plunged into a national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with all court proceedings swiftly suspended.

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REUTERS | GCS

In Allsop v Banner Jones Ltd and another, the Court of Appeal considered the application of Phosphate Sewage v Molleson to applications to strike out a claim on the basis of abuse of process. The decision is a detailed exploration of the scope of the doctrines of res judicata, collateral attacks on previous decisions and abuse of process. As such it is valuable reading to litigators generally and particularly those in the field of professional negligence.

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REUTERS | David Gray

Since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020, many a change has been experienced by all and now the development of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) is no different. The definition of proportionality in CPR 44.3(5) is to be expanded to take into account the involvement of vulnerable parties and witnesses, following a detailed report of matters by the Civil Justice Council (CJC).

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REUTERS | Neil Hall

2020 will be remembered as the year COVID-19 changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined. It has brought every single one of us a set of new challenges that we have learnt to live with to the best of our ability and through utilising resources available to us. Whether we have had to adapt to changes in our daily routines, cope with isolation, worry about the health of those closest to us, or we have sadly lost loved ones; as a society, it has changed our lives beyond recognition.

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REUTERS | Bob Strong

In PJSC National Bank Trust and another v Mints and others, the court granted an application to release the claimants (C) from the standard cross-undertaking (see PD 25A) not to use, without the court’s permission, any information obtained as a result of a worldwide freezing order (WFO) for any civil or criminal proceedings other than that claim.

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