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International bar associations and chambers of commerce are increasingly recognising both the central role and evolving expectations of the legal profession in responding to climate change. The International Bar Association (IBA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and the American Bar Association (ABA), among others, have recently issued statements and reports covering various topics related to climate change and the legal sector. These initiatives provide guidance on how lawyers, legal practice and dispute resolution processes can help states, businesses, communities and individuals address contributions to, and impacts from, climate change. Continue reading

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An uptake of technology by the courts during the COVID-19 crisis has implications not just for current proceedings, but also for the future of the judicial system and the rule of law. In this blog, we explore how remote hearings are likely to have lasting effects on the judicial landscape. Continue reading

REUTERS | Lucy Nicholson

On 24 January 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. In the months that followed, California’s population ballooned from roughly 15,000 to 300,000 as migrants from the rest of United States (US) and abroad moved there in the hope of starting anew, working hard and making great wealth. In the English litigation scene, some are perceiving the Court of Appeal’s judgment on 2 October 2019 in Lloyd v Google to be akin to Marshall’s discovery. The opt-out style of class actions in the US has finally been allowed in England, they assert. Continue reading

REUTERS | Michaela Rehle

In Frejek v Frejek, Roth J dealt effectively with a committal application remotely by Skype and in the respondent’s absence. Roth J found the respondent to be in contempt of court but would not deal with sentencing. Instead, a bench warrant was issued for the respondent to be brought before the court specifically for sentencing. Continue reading

REUTERS | Mike Blake

The Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO), like all courts, has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. As with many other courts, the SCCO is doing its level best to keep the wheels of justice turning, by embracing remote hearings, electronic filing, and new practices. The court is coping well, likely assisted by most of those appearing before it being represented, and the implementation of electronic filing last year giving it a head start over some courts in handling electronic documents. Continue reading

REUTERS | David Mercado

The recent decision of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) to strike off Claire Matthews, a junior solicitor, after she left a locked briefcase on a train containing confidential client documents, concerned many within the legal profession. On 28 May 2020, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had defended its decision, in a letter to the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD). Continue reading

REUTERS | Alexandre Meneghini

This time of enforced home working presents various difficulties to those working on contentious matters. How do you conduct remote hearings effectively? How do you interview witnesses effectively?

But a timely case reminds all litigation practitioners to take control of the disclosure process and, in particular, not to allow their clients to select the documents to be disclosed.

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In the September 2019 blog, we featured alternative dispute resolution (ADR), placing emphasis on the advance of guidance at High Court level and above, that parties to litigation, who ignore invitations to engage in ADR, do so at their peril as to the costs of the action, even if they win (see the blog and Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust and PGF II SA v OMFS). An unreasonable refusal to use ADR (described in the glossary to the CPR as a “Collective description of methods of resolving disputes otherwise than through the normal trial process”), is likely to lead to the imposition of penalties on the offender. This usually occurs in relation to mediation, the best known form of ADR, but it can also arise where there has been a failure to engage in early neutral evaluation (ENE) or a “without prejudice” joint settlement meeting (JSM). Continue reading

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Pursuant to CPR 44.2, the court may exercise its discretion to order one party to a claim to pay the costs incurred by another. While the general rule is that “the unsuccessful party will be ordered to pay the costs of the successful party”, the court may depart from this if it so chooses.

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