Friends, Romans, countrymen..

By | 7th August 2012

I have been away.

My timing is not always good. It was not until I paid my third visit to Rome that the authorities removed the scaffolding from the front of St Peter’s allowing an uninterrupted view of the magnificent façade, and I never did see inside the cathedral in the Plaza Mayor in Cusco where I was denied access because of an earlier earthquake which was said to have rendered the building unsafe.

Probably my worst piece of timing was to arrive in Tiananmen Square on my one visit to mainland China with the firm intention of visiting the mausoleum which houses the remains of Chairman Mao only to be turned away at the door with the news that the building was closed as his ear had fallen off!

On this occasion, my timing has been better. Not only has Team GB won more gold medals at the London Olympics than I thought possible, but I managed to be back home to see most of them including the incomparable Jessica Ennis, the enduring Mo Farah and the leaping Greg Rutherford all within the space of a few minutes of one another.

Not so surprising, perhaps, while I have been away is that the news has switched from Barclays and the LIBOR fixing scandal to allegations by US regulators of sanctions busting by Standard Chartered in relation to transactions involving Iran in contravention of US law; different organisation this time, but the banking sector continues to provide work for those lawyers not in Stratford or beyond the seas on their August holidays.

Meanwhile, I have seen a report on page 13 of The Times of 30th July (while I was away last week) that the first case is being prepared against the banks involved in interest rigging and swap mis-selling. In itself, that is not surprising, but what may surprise some people is that the case is being brought in the Mercantile Court in Birmingham. [Cooke Young & Keidan acts as first Libor litigation hits court, The Lawyer, 7th August, 2012]

Then again, perhaps not so surprising, when it appears that the judge in the case is Judge Simon Brown QC who, as readers will know well, is at the forefront of efforts by the judiciary to ensure that litigation is run more quickly and cost effectively particularly when it comes to e-disclosure.

I am certain this one will run and run, at least until the judge exercises his case management powers, which he is sure to do if any of the parties are found to be less than diligent in dealing with the issues and the process involved in getting to grips with the evidence.

In view of all that has been said and written on this subject over the past few months, no one should be surprised that the claimants chose the Birmingham Mercantile Court to bring their case. I rather hope it may become a case study!