Commercial disputes

According to Citizens Advice ‘Fat cat’ lawyer image creates more Litigants in Person (“LiP”). But is that really the reason?

The Gazette published an article on 29 March 2016 reporting that research carried out by the charity Citizens Advice, saw that “the rise in litigants in person was mainly due to clients being unable to afford a lawyer due to reduced funding for those going to the family court”; and “notes that some people chose to be unrepresented as they either mistrusted lawyers or were not aware of the value lawyers could bring to their case”.

High-cost cases to escape new management rules

1 April 2013 is a key date with regard to litigation funding as the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 becomes law. From this date ATE premiums and success fees will no longer be recoverable from losing defendants and damages based agreements will be introduced. However in regard to cost management, the judiciary has decided that commercial cases worth more than £2m will be exempt from new costs management rules in an amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules finalised last week.

Steps to achieve the best commercial outcome in dispute resolution

In one sense, every dispute is an investment project, an investment in time and possibly money. Like other investments, time and money must be spent to achieve the ultimate objective. Applying investment appraisal and project management thinking to a legal dispute, whether as CEO or General Counsel helps avoid unnecessary expense and poor decision making.

Insurance claims continue to cause concern

We regularly receive instructions relating to insurance claims where insurers have tried to decline cover outright or reject specific claims. This afflicts businesses and private individuals alike and we have recently advised on a number of household contents claims resulting from fire, theft and flood, health insurance and critical illness claims, as well as other insurance-related issues.

Update on 10% increase in general damages

In the recent case of Simmons v Castle, in which the Court of Appeal confirmed that there would be a 10% increase in general damages, the judgment was met with some concern as it effectively created an unfair windfall for successful parties who entered into a Conditional Fee Arrangement before 1 April 2013. The decision has since been appealed.

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