Of mice and men

By | 1st April 2010

Hunca Munca and Tom Thumb were two bad mice. Beatrix Potter conceived the story of how they both created mayhem in the dolls’ house belonging to Lucinda and Jane, while the dolls were out in their pram. When the little girl who owns the dolls’ house discovers the mess, she gets a doll dressed up as a policeman while her more practical nanny sets a mouse trap. The two bad mice have to atone for their naughtiness.

Now we have a report in The Lawyer [Russian Retribution, 31 March, 2010] that two of Russia’s wealthiest men are to face one another in Court in 2011 after lawyers acting for Roman Abramovich failed to persuade Mr Justice Colman to strike out claims by Boris Berezovsky that Abramovich used coercive tactics against his former business partner which Berezovsky alleges caused him billions of pounds in losses.

The judge criticised the costs of the strike out application which are believed to be in the region of £1 million each and which occupied the court for 15 days, three times longer than estimated. The full trial has been listed for 12 weeks next autumn (2011).

The documentation and witness statement evidence was said to be “extremely voluminous”.

Given that both parties are represented by extremely experienced and well known law firms, we can be sure that they have taken account of the recent judgment in Earles v Barclays Bank and the publication of the ESI questionnaire as a schedule to the Master’s judgment in Goodale v Ministry of Justice.

It will be fascinating to see how this one works out. Whatever happens, AR and BB will have to pay more than the crooked sixpence and the cost of the cleaner for the dolls’ house in the Beatrix Potter story. Reputedly, they can afford to do so!