By | 7th 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.”
To quote a well known judge and commentator on e-disclosure matters “Now I understand what is meant by effective ‘Sanctions’!” It appears that Mr Thursfield is out of the jurisdiction and may never serve his sentence, but I know what the judge means!
Moving on to the sometimes less fraught arena of the civil action, Mr Justice Coulson has delivered a second judgment in a TCC case based on the pilot scheme for costs management which was a precursor to the full Jackson reforms. Following my post on the judgment in Murray v Neil Dowlman Architecture [2013] EWHC 872, we now have the case of Elvanite Full Circle Limited v Amec Earth and Environmental (UK) Limited [2013] EWHC 1643.
In Elvanite, Mr Justice Coulson refused the defendant’s application to amend a costs mangement order after the trial had ended and said that:
  • The Defendant should have made his application as soon as it became clear that the original budget had been exceeded by more than a minimal amount;
  • If that were wrong, then the defendant would have to show a good reason why the application was made so late, and in this case he had not done so.

When you add to those two cases the warning from the Court of Appeal in Henry v News Group Newspapers [2013] EWCA Civ 19, there is now a definite line of cases indicating that the courts are determined to make the costs management and budgets regime really work.

If you are off to the beach, have a good time and I hope these developments will not ruin your relaxation in the sun.