REUTERS | Mike Blake

I recently acted as junior counsel in Wolff v Trinity Logistics USA Inc, where the Court of Appeal considered the circumstances in which a respondent to an appeal requires permission to run a defensive case. The issue arose in the following context: Trinity USA’s claim against Mr Wolff in procuring breach of contract succeeded at first instance, but its claims in conspiracy, conversion and deceit were dismissed by Sara Cockerill QC (sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court). Mr Wolff appealed against the judge’s decision on procuring breach of contract and Trinity USA sought to challenge the dismissal of its claims in conspiracy and conversion. Continue reading

REUTERS | Hannibal Hanschke

A no-deal Brexit could never be ruled out as a possibility, but the volatile political climate in recent days and weeks has brought it, and the challenges it poses, into ever sharper focus.

So what would a no-deal Brexit mean for disputes and what questions should a business be asking its lawyers to advise on? Continue reading

REUTERS | Vasily Fedosenko

The High Court’s decision in Raja v Hoogstraten and others, and in particular the claimant’s application to set aside a previous costs order made in favour of the defendants pursuant to CPR 40.8A, highlights the circumstances and grounds required to set aside an order under CPR 40.8A, yet fails to provide real clarity for the profession. Continue reading


Paragraph 7.6 of Practice Direction 3E provides that a party “shall revise its budget in respect of future costs upwards or downwards, if significant developments in the litigation warrant such revisions… The court may approve, vary or disapprove the revisions, having regard to any significant developments which have occurred since the date when the previous budget was approved or agreed.” Continue reading

REUTERS | Russell Cheyne

I am a barrister, specialising mainly in personal injury and clinical negligence work. This is split between claimants and defendants, in roughly equal proportions. This piece is about my perception of a changing culture in the approach to agreement or assessment of the receiving parties’ costs in such cases, normally now only in relation to claimants’ costs, because of qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS). To me, this change is most obviously marked (whatever its causes may be) by the fact that counsel are now regularly being asked by their solicitors, or the latter’s costs lawyers / draftsmen, to forego significant parts of the fees, even before any challenge has been raised to them by the paying party (and often without any suggestion as to why this may be justified), simply in order to facilitate agreement of an overall discount, and therefore to avoid those costs being sent for detailed assessment. Continue reading

REUTERS | Mike Blake

It is almost six years since section 44 of the Legal Aid (Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders) Act 2012 (LASPO) was enacted on 1 April 2013, under which success fees in conditional fee agreements (CFAs) and after-the-event (ATE) insurance premiums ceased to be recoverable from opponents in most types of litigation. Exceptions were carved out which applied to mesothelioma claims (and still do), insolvency cases (until April 2016) and privacy (under sentence of death from 6 April 2019). Transitional provisions, however, left untouched CFAs made and ATE premiums taken out on or before 31 March 2013 (see CPR 48.1-2), and by now, it might be expected that all issues with funding arrangements of this type would long since have been resolved. Continue reading

REUTERS | Randall Hill

All lawyers know that a thing is not necessarily true because a client or a witness says it. To advise a client, involved in a dispute where there is a conflict of evidence on important issues, we need to know how judges will resolve this conflict. How do they decide which witness is honest and which dishonest, which is reliable and which unreliable? The guidance from the courts has been consistent. The contemporary documentation, such as letters, minutes or notes, written well before there was any breath of dispute between the parties, is of crucial importance. The trial judge will also consider the admitted facts and the overall probabilities. The recent decision in Burgess v Lejonvarn illustrates the application of these rules. Continue reading