Suzanne Plunkett
REUTERS | Suzanne Plunkett

In case you’ve been living on a desert island for the last year or so, in July 2015 Lord Justice Briggs was asked by the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls to carry out a review of the structure of the civil courts of England and Wales. Many conferences, presentations and informal consultation sessions later, and Briggs LJ published both an interim report (in January 2016) and, on 27 July 2016, his final report on the Civil Courts Structure Review. The final report builds on and refers frequently to the interim one, and the two really ought to be read together. Continue reading

Ali Jarekji
REUTERS | Ali Jarekji

Any advice given to clients should be tempered, as far as possible, with how that advice may impact on them in the future, as well as with how a judge might view that advice in determining the reasonableness of a decision taken on its basis.

To my knowledge, nobody has a crystal ball to see into the future, but good practice should afford protection. In particular, careful analysis, deliberation and recording the reasoning behind a decision can assist in mitigating the future impact of whether or not to mediate. The simple things learnt early in a legal career will stand all in good stead when deliberating whether to mediate or not; lest we forget at great expense to our client. Continue reading

Dinuka Liyanawatte
REUTERS | Dinuka Liyanawatte

Non-party costs orders against those who have funded defences are more unusual than orders made against those who have funded claims. The recent judgment in the case of The Creative Foundation v Dreamland Leisure Limited has contributed to the developing law in this area and sheds light on when an order might be made. Continue reading

Jonathan Bachman
REUTERS | Jonathan Bachman

Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of State for Defence, is said to have commented in February 2002: “There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know.” It is safe to say that, what with an on-going programme of reform to HM Courts & Tribunals Service, regular updates to the English & Welsh Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and the UK’s vote to withdraw from the European Union (EU), we know change is coming; we just don’t know what forms it will necessarily take. Luckily, Practical Law Dispute Resolution is on hand to keep our subscribers up to date with the most recent changes, proposals and commentary. Continue reading


One of the lesser discussed aspects of the Jackson reforms was the formal introduction of concurrent expert evidence, aka “hot-tubbing“, as an optional procedure to be adopted at the discretion of the court. As described in PD 35.11, it involves hearing evidence concurrently from the experts in a particular discipline, with the judge initiating the questioning and discussion, rather than having each expert give evidence and be cross-examined separately in the usual way. Continue reading

Brian Snyder
REUTERS | Brian Snyder

During a recent visit to the County Court Money Claims Centre in Salford (CCMCC), I was taken aback to learn that in the year April 2015 to March 2016, the CCMCC issued 322,000 claims. In this “age of austerity” and with judicial time and resources at a premium, how is HMCTS responding to the challenge of dealing efficiently with high-volume litigation?

One recent initiative has been the introduction of the County Court Legal Advisers Pilot Scheme, for which provision is made in PD 51K (the Pilot). The Pilot applies to money claims started at the County Court Business Centre in Northampton (CCBC) and at the CCMCC. It commenced on 1 October 2015 and was scheduled to end on 30 September 2016. However, in light of positive experiences to date, the Civil Procedure Rule Committee has approved an extension to the duration and scope of the Pilot, which will now run until 31 March 2017. Continue reading

Lucas Jackson
REUTERS | Lucas Jackson

Disclosure of documents is a significant driver of costs. Where the relevant documents are electronic, the problem is usually exacerbated. This is simply because the vast majority of documents are now created electronically and the proliferation and storage capacity of day-to-day IT equipment is such that the amount of information available may be enormous. Continue reading