Who will bid more than £10 million?

Some time way back last year, there was dissatisfaction expressed in certain quarters that a two-tier system was evolving in relation to the cases which were to be the subject of the cost budgeting rules introduced as part of the Jackson Big Bang reforms.

Put simply, while the “smaller” cases were to be subject to the rules requiring the parties to submit a properly costed budget for each case on pain of sanctions in accordance with Civil Procedure Rules 3.12-3.18, cases which involved more than £2m were to be exempt.

It was rather as if a builder was required to submit a fully costed schedule of works for constructing something apparently straightforward like a conservatory extension but the same builder was exempt from submitting any detailed costings for the construction of a mansion at a cost in excess of £2m. Continue reading

Open All Hours

 The Aussies have done it again!

Not satisfied with trouncing Cook’s boys 5-0 in the recent Ashes series (I prefer not to mention the one day series and the T20, poor as they were, because it is the result of the five match Ashes series which hurts), the New South Wales Attorney General has announced that a Virtual Registry is now open for business.

The press release proclaims that the Virtual Registry is open anytime anywhere making the lodging and management of civil claims faster and more efficient. Apparently there is to be no more waiting at the court registry to file documents and lawyers will no longer have to structure their day around the court’s hours.

Details are contained in the press release and more information may be obtained from the NSW Supreme, District & Local Courts Online Registry. But, in summary, lawyers and litigants in person in civil claims can use the Online Registry to:

  • File over 40 forms for civil cases
  • Receive court-sealed documents by email
  • Request copies of judgments and orders
  • Check which documents have been filed for a case
  • Publish and search NSW probate notices (mandatory advertisements relating to wills and deceased estates)
  • Check lists of subpoenaed documents and things (items brought to court to be
  • considered as evidence)
  • Pay court filing fees by credit card.

All in all, it looks like another win for Australia.

Susskind supports Casey Flaherty approach

In various posts last year I highlighted the views of Casey Flaherty, General Counsel of Kia Motors America, Inc.

Casey espouses the view that lawyers who want to work for his company need to understand that the world has changed and that with it comes the responsibility to understand the contribution which technology can make to the discovery process in litigation and other contentious work.

To that end he has devised a technology test which lawyers who aspire to act for Kia have to undertake. There is, of course, more to it than that but the point is, broadly, that if you fail the test you do not get to work for Kia, at least on the particular job in question. Continue reading

Ave atque Vale Legal Tech New York 2014

Over the past weeks, my email inbox has been inundated with advertisements for products, invitations to events and parties and general exhortations to visit this booth and that at Legal Tech 2014.

The event is taking place this week in New York. Billed as the premier legal technology show on Earth, the gathering takes place at the Hilton Hotel on 6th Avenue when people from all round the world converge on the city (and the hotel lobby) in a bewildering cacophony of self promotion and, yes, to be honest, a touch of hubris.

That said, it has in the past proved to be a hugely enjoyable occasion because those who attend share many common interests and it is an opportunity to see face to face some of the people who work in the legal technology industry who are gathered together in one place for most or all of the week.

As a Legal Tech virgin a few years ago, I was impressed by the range of people attending and by some (if not all) of the sessions. Without doubt, it is one of those events which draws together the good and the great in the industry and which includes some of the judges and practitioners who operate regularly at the forefront of the development and application of the technology with which the rest of the world is becoming familiar.

BUT this year, for the first time for a number of years, no one from Millnet will be there!

It was interesting to note when I first attended how few lawyers actually attend and specifically how few lawyers from the UK. None, if I remember rightly!

Last year, the same could have been said about the litigation support community from London. Usually, these guys and their firms are well represented but last year, there was a distinct dearth of attendance from that community. In fact, if memory serves me right, there was no one from the big UK law firms and no one on the various speaking panels either.

After some discussion, we concluded that, having attended Legal Tech in 3 of the past 4 years, with a minimum of three participants on each occasion, it is an event that yields a poor return on our investment. This does not mean we will not attend again in the future but does mean that we intend to plan our attendance at events and seminars for the rest of 2014 in a more considered way that reflects personal development priorities for staff as well as focusing on activities that yield measurable results.  

In the meantime, I wish all our friends and contacts who are at LTNY a very happy and enjoyable conference and all of us at Millnet look forward to seeing you, talking to you and working with you in one way or another in the coming months. 

As Catullus might have said, we salute you…..(but for the time being, LTNY) goodbye!

 

Predictions for 2014

A little later than normal, I have remembered it is the time of year for predictions. Usually this happens in December or early January so, on any view, I am a fraction late this year.

The Society of Computers and Law publishes predictions gleaned from a number of people in the IT and E discovery industry each year.

This year, we were asked not only for our predictions but also to say what we thought was the most surprising development of the past year and to comment on what we thought was the most surprising event which had not happened in the past three years.

Catch up with the eDiscovery and IT predictions for 2014 by logging into the SCL website here. Continue reading

Mitchell Round Up

In the wake of the Mitchell case, my attention has been drawn to a really useful updater blog posted by barrister Gordon Exall, which currently lists the decisions in five subsequent cases around the country, all of which feature some kind of sanction or relief from sanction for procedural breach.

The post is entitled Mitchell: Case Watch and the cases currently listed are:

  • Durrant -v- The Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary [2013] EWCA Civ 1624
  • Addlington and 113 others -v- Els International LLP (2013)
  • SG DP Petrol SRL -v- Vitrol SA [2013] EWHC 3920
  • Norseman Holdings Ltd -v- Warwick Court (Harrold Hill) Management Company Ltd [2013] EWHC 3868
  • Forstater and Mark Forstater Productions Ltd -v- Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd and Freeway Cam (UK) Ltd [2013] EWHC 3759

Each section includes the Bailii or other case reference, the brief facts and the salient parts of the judgments which indicate how the principles in Mitchell are being applied. The piece also contains links to the case reports in each case.

Gordon Exall says that his Case Watch is going to be updated as new cases happen, so it is certainly worth making a note of the above link if you want to keep up to date with developments in this important area of practice and procedure.

 

Off we go again!

As the New Year starts and everyone goes back to work, thoughts will inevitably turn to how lawyers should deal with the new rules which came into force last year. Actually, I have decided that I should no longer refer to them as the “new” rules. The civil justice reforms have been in effect since April 2013 and there has been a number of cases since then relating to interpretation and enforcement.

Significantly, and just before Christmas, His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC completed his series of articles on the reforms which was published online by the New Law Journal at http://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/nlj/content/fall

In typically robust style, the learned judge categorises his article as reassurance to “nervy post Mitchell practitioners” that it is all quite simple provided you follow the rules and guidance already given.

This final article is also significant and important because it contains case studies of two recent cases decided by the judge as well as his informed commentary and also carries links to important related articles, so you have a compendium of the reforms and a commentary all in one place.

Well worth a read and perhaps practitioners may wish to tuck away the link for reference purposes as the year moves forward.

Which brings me to The Lawyer round up of the top 20 litigation cases for 2014

While it is gratifying to see so many cases where Millnet has been involved in providing advice and assistance to the parties, the list of cases goes to show that there is a huge amount of litigation going on at this time. The need for practical and cost effective advice is ever present if practitioners are to comply with the civil justice reforms.

Happy New Year.

 

 

Too soon to say

“It is too soon to say.”

Attributed to the former Chinese Premier, Chou en Lai (or Zhou Enlai), this response was, probably erroneously, thought to have referred to the effect of the 1789 French Revolution! 

These days, it appears to be more widely accepted that the words referred to the street protests in France and other European countries in 1968 and that the context had been lost in translation. I don’t know whether that is right but the remark was made in either the late 1960s or early 1970s, and it makes more sense if the reference was to events a few years earlier rather than events almost 200 hundred years before, however deliciously cautious the remark may have been. In the time of Mao Tse Tung ( or Mao Zedong), it did not pay to be too outspoken in one’s views or too hurried in your judgment.

So, at the end of the year which has seen the introduction of the Jackson reforms into civil litigation, where are we now? Continue reading

Less is More

I have recently finished reading “Tomorrow’s Lawyers” by Richard Susskind.

If you are interested in the practice of law in the future, I urge you to read this book. 

As a commentator on the law and lawyers, Richard Susskind is thought provoking and fascinating with eloquent views on the future of the profession of law and tomorrow’s lawyers. Typically there is good news and also bad news!

The quote from the blurb at the back of the book states that “the future of legal service will be neither Grisham nor Rumpole.” Continue reading