Monthly Archives: August 2013


It is said that “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”
But before you acquire the lazy habit which leads to respectability, you may want to get up to speed with the developments piling up now before everyone departs for the beach.
If you are as miffed as J K Rowling is reported to have been when outed as the author Robert Galbraith by a leak from her own lawyers, you might do well to reflect that matters could be a lot worse.
While it is reported that  the law firm concerned has reached an out of court settlement of the damages claimed by Rowling, it has emerged that the Court of Appeal has recently held that you can go to prison if you fail to comply with disclosure orders in family cases! In matrimonial proceedings in Thursfield v Thursfield [2013] EWCA Civ 840 the ex husband failed to convince the court that a two year sentence for failure to comply with a disclosure order was “manifestly excessive.” Continue reading

CMCs in Birmingham

CMCs are becoming more streamlined.

I am sure this trend has been felt by litigants all around the country, but no more so than in Birmingham where His Honour Judge Simon Brown QC has published a new CMC notice, Case Management Conference Notice HHJ Simon Brown QC July 2013.

The notice will be familiar to practitioners in Birmingham (as well as Bristol and, possibly, elsewhere too) and contains hyperlinks to the key forms the judge expects litigants to use to encourage judicial e-working in the Birmingham Mercantile Court.

E trials are part of the mix in Birmingham now. It is not just summer that has arrived!

Snakes and Ladders


As this post is the 300th posted by me since we started the Smart E-Discovery blog, I thought all my kind readers had earned a light hearted piece.

From time to time, I have used the image of the children’s game of Snakes and Ladders to illustrate the old way of carrying out litigation. To refresh your memories, refer to A dance to the music of time and Cooperation does not mean Collaboration

Armed with the White Book and preferably fortified by a discussion with one of the formidable managing clerks, whose knowledge of the rules and the intricacies of procedure was unrivalled in law firms of that time, litigators merrily played the game of snakes and ladders with their cases. You played the rules to win. Sometimes you did and up the ladder you went, and sometimes you did not, and down the snake you came!

Always this was carried out without any prior discussion, let alone consultation, with the lawyers for the other parties, who may well have been disconcerted as a result, and often they were! After all, that was the game!

We all know that things are different today and that consultation and conferences are the order of the day, where cards are placed on the table and the courts order the way forward in order to achieve the overriding objective of proportionality and “the best way forward.” Continue reading