REUTERS | Carlos Jasso

Claimant practitioners will give a warm reception to a decision providing clarity and interpretation to what is meant by an agreement for costs to be “subject to detailed assessment”.

The Court of Appeal, in Doyle v M&D Foundations & Building Services Ltd, has ruled that no ambiguity exists where there is a clear agreed court order requiring the payment of costs “subject to detailed assessment if not agreed”.

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REUTERS | Carlos Barria

The past few years have seen a significant increase in cases where claimants commence an action and obtain an injunction against “Persons Unknown”, who are defined by reference to their actions or role in respect of the alleged conduct.

Such orders can be extremely useful to claimants, allowing them to enlist the assistance of the court despite being unable to identify the intended defendants by name, or even where they have no knowledge of who the appropriate defendants might be.

However, the procedure does throw up a number of novel issues and challenges, and it is likely that these will continue to crystallise as such orders become more common.

A recent High Court decision has highlighted a number of such issues arising from the fact that these orders have the potential to catch ‘newcomers’ – people who did not fall within the defined category of “Persons Unknown” at the time the injunction was made but are subsequently brought within the definition as a result of some later conduct or event (MBR Acres Ltd and others v McGivern).

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REUTERS | Darren Staples

Amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) from 1 October 2022 mean that it should become more straightforward to seek information orders against non-parties to litigation located outside England and Wales.

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REUTERS | Carlos Barria

Few procedural changes have kept lawyers as interested as the continuing fine-tuning of the Disclosure Pilot Scheme under PD 51U, which will become a permanent fixture of the CPR as the brand new PD 57AD from 1 October 2022.

So, where are we now? In essence, we have come to the end of the iterative process where the Disclosure Working Group was seeking continuous feedback from users on the disclosure rules. Here, we take a look at the final changes which will be coming into force next month.

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REUTERS | Asmaa Waguih

In July 2022, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) released a consultation on Increasing the use of mediation in the civil justice system, which outlines proposals for mediation to be a compulsory element of all small claims track County Court proceedings. This would extend to all claims under £10,000 that were in the small claims track as well as personal injury and housing disrepair claims, although at the lower small claims track level for this type of litigation.

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REUTERS | GCS

Beyond adverse costs cover

Clients increasingly ask for “alternative fee” options, and most lawyers are now well-versed in discussing litigation funding as a part of that. In contrast, litigation insurance remains under-utilised and I suspect this is due to a misunderstanding that its role is limited to adverse costs (or after the event (ATE)) cover).

Litigation insurance does so much more. (While this blog focuses on coverage for litigating parties at various stages of a claim, another key area is coverage for the risks faced by lawyers themselves, for example, insuring law firms when they act on contingent fees such as damages-based agreements (DBAs).)

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REUTERS | GCS

In March 2020, as one judgment memorably put it, the world shifted on its axis. As part of this shift, electronic working came to the fore, driven by necessity and now recognised as a permanent feature of the landscape for users of the English courts. Communication – and service – by email was, of course, a feature long before the pandemic. However, amid all the changes brought about by remote working, the rules on service have remained – for now – unchanged. Cases continue to come thick and fast highlighting the ease with which parties and legal representatives alike can fall foul of those rules, the most recent example being R (Karanja) v University of the West of Scotland.

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REUTERS | Marcos Brindicci

Over a year in, there has been guidance emerging from the courts, at first instance, as to the approach to taking witness statements under the new PD 57AC. There are five key points that are worth highlighting.

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