REUTERS | Issei Kato

“I know my rights” is an oft-used expression when someone is being pushed around, whether that be in a public place, or at home, when  a perceived victim is espousing such a view during a television drama. When it comes to rights under the Solicitors Act 1974 (the Act), however, do clients have any idea what rights, if any, they have against the firms of solicitors they instruct when it comes to the hefty fees they are often charged for conducting litigation?

The answer to that is likely to be “only if you tell them”, since the Act is such an arcane and outdated piece of legislation that the man on the Clapham Omnibus (see judgment of Greer LJ in Hall v Brooklands Auto Racing Club) or indeed his opposite gender counterpart and, most likely, any director of the company which retained the firm, will have little or no idea unless they have encountered the Act in a previous incarnation.

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REUTERS | Toby Melville

The case of Lifestyle Equities CV and another v Ahmed and another was heard by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), and judgment was given  by Birss LJ on 7 May 2021.

The matter arose from a trademark dispute. The claimant brought proceedings for infringement of registered trademarks and passing off against several defendants. Several of the defendants were companies but Mr and Ms Ahmed were also named as defendants. They were directors of two of the defendant companies.

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REUTERS | GCS

Despite the prolific number of published articles providing help and guidance in relation to costs budgeting, cases still arise where it is necessary to be reminded about some of the practical measures that can be considered to avoid loss. Reasons for failure to file budgets on time, ensure they cover the work and cost that could reasonably be anticipated or making timely applications for revision can be due to lack of knowledge, lack of experience, failure to utilise available resources or panic when up against a deadline. However, with proper planning and forethought the difficulties can be overcome.

Master McCloud found it necessary to consider a number of issues when deciding upon an application to revise parts of a budget in the case of Thompson v NSL Ltd.

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REUTERS | GCS

Every growth industry has its critics, usually those with most to lose. Litigation funding is no different and they will be rubbing their hands with glee at the ongoing Australian review considering capping funders’ returns at 30% of the award. This would have far reaching consequences for the whole industry.

However, a closer look at this particular battle highlights one characterised by rhetoric, ego and self-interest, rather than the main issue at hand: the real value of litigation risks.

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REUTERS | GCS

Part 36 rules can be a minefield for practitioners at the best of times, but a recent case has served to demonstrate the need for parties to keep their offers under review throughout proceedings.

The Queen’s Bench Division recently handed down judgment in Reader v SPIE Ltd and another, a case concerning fiduciary duties on a seller during the sale of a business, Garside & Laycock Limited (G&L), by way of a share purchase agreement to SPIE Limited (SPIE).

Of interest to litigators more generally, on appeal Andrew Baker J considered the application of the costs consequences of a Part 36 offer (under CPR 36.17) where that offer is made within 21 days of trial, but the trial does not in fact commence within that period.

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REUTERS | GCS

Non-party disclosure, and specifically the confidentiality concerns faced by non-party respondents, has been considered recently in the case of Bugsby Property LLC v LGIM Commercial Leasing Ltd and another. In that case, the parties to proceedings made applications for disclosure against five non-party respondents. The applications were made under CPR 31.17 and section 34 of the Senior Courts Act 1981. In partially granting the non-party disclosure application, Henshaw J ordered the disclosure to be subject to a tiered confidentiality club arrangement, limiting the classes of individuals who had access to different categories of disclosed documents.

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REUTERS | Ints Kalnins

Historically courts took a relaxed attitude to deadlines, and it may seem strange to younger members of the profession, but in my working life parties could, and did, simply decide that they were not ready for trial and would tell the court to adjourn matters.

That all changed with the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules and the very tough approach to relief from sanctions in Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Limited, considerably softened by the subsequent decision in Denton and others v TH White Limited.

However, in relation to costs deadlines, with the marked exception of costs budgets, which the courts have an unhealthy obsession with, life has gone on as before with deadlines missed with no penalty.

There is evidence that the courts are now beginning to adopt a tougher line in relation to time limits and in relation to costs’ proceedings.

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REUTERS | Hannah McKay

London International Disputes Week 2021 (LIDW21), held earlier in May, came at arguably one of the most critical times for dispute resolution in the UK. This year has not only seen the UK officially leave the EU (creating the potential for great divergences in legislation and regulation), but has also seen court hearings shift online due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Continue reading