Author Archives: Charles Holloway

About Charles Holloway

Lawyer, mediator, business consultant offering mediation services through Consensum and litigation triage advice to other lawyers and their clients.

Mediation support

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, said last week (see Law Gazette ) that we should be uninhibited about more mediation in civil and family matters.

 While stopping short of calling for compulsory mediation for all, his views suggest a judiciary which is starting to recognise the success story which is mediation. Lower costs, more flexible outcomes and quicker resolution of disputes are just some of the advantages over traditional litigation.

 Litigation has its place, of course and some cases will not be successfully mediated but the law and our court system provides a sledgehammer to crack a nut for the vast number of disputes which fall within the bracket where the claim is worth between £50,000 and, say £1-5 million.

 Add to that last month’s swingeing increase in court fees and you have powerful reasons to consider mediation at the right stage of the dispute.



Court fees boost to mediation

With the speed of the fanatic, the Government has confirmed a massive rise in the cost of civil litigation with effect from next Monday March 9th, rather earlier than originally announced.

According to the Law Society, whose table is reproduced below, some civil court fees will rise by 622% and even the smallest increase is 64% so that a claimant bringing a money claim valued at £20000 must now find £1000 in order to issue proceedings.

Access to Justice this is not!

I feel sure that when Lord Woolf published “Access to Justice” he did not have in mind a draconian increase in fees the effect of which is to drive all but the richest litigants from the courts. It goes to show that not everything can be reduced to mere numbers by the bean counters in our society.

While some advisers have been hurrying to beat the rises by issuing proceedings this week, the remainder will have to put up with it.

Of course, they could opt for mediation or other forms of dispute resolution. I doubt that was what the Government had in mind but it may be a blessing in disguise for litigants and mediators alike.

Value of claim £ Fee now £ (paper) New fee £ Increase in fee £ % increase
20,000 610 1,000 390 64%
40,000 610 2,000 1,390 228%
90,000 910 4,500 3,590 395%
150,000 1,315 7,500 6,185 470%
190,000 1,315 9,500 8,185 622%
200,000 1,515 10,000 8,725 576%
250,000 1,720 10,000 8,280 481%

In case you missed it…

In case you missed it, there has been (or there will soon be) a sea change in the rules relating to E-Discovery in the United States.

Some readers may think that what happens over there does not concern us over here. Others realise that what happens over there, often comes over here in due course and I don’t just mean the remnants of dying hurricanes like Gonzalo and the horrible weather they unleash on us after a race across the Atlantic.

For once, however, we on this side of the Atlantic may take some satisfaction from the fact that we have had the concept of proportionality in our courts for many years and it is good to see an outbreak of sanity in the US. Continue reading

Never in the field of litigation……

With apologies to Winston Churchill, never in the field of litigation has so much been owed to so few.

I have been away from the world of blogging and most other forms of social media for some months. It has been a liberating experience which has allowed me to think about the world I used to inhabit when at Eversheds, PwC and Millnet and to ask myself where I should go next.

It soon became apparent from the comments made to me over that time by lawyers and others engaged in the business of litigation, arbitration, mediation in the commercial field or in the regulatory, investigatory or competition arena, that the need for quality objective advice has never been greater. Continue reading

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.