London Solicitors Litigation Association
Welcome to this month’s newsletter.
Set out below are details of some of our most recent and future activities and some legal issues which might affect you.
LSLA Officers and Committee
Following the AGM on 15 March 2011, the following new members have been elected to the Committee:
- Colin Gibson of Field Fisher Waterhouse;
- Julian Acratopulo of Clifford Chance; and
- Marc Thorley of Simmons & Simmons
After many years of service, Simon Davis has stepped down from the Committee and we thank him for his contribution not least as a former president of the association.
Lucy McKinley has also resigned as our administrator and been replaced by Alex Luke. Alex’s contact details as well as full details of the officers and committee members of the LSLA can be found on our website at www.lsla.co.uk.
AGM and Dinner – 15 March 2011
Lord Falconer was our speaker this year. He was Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs between 2003 and 2007 and Solicitor General between 1997 and 1998. Chatham House rules applied to the evening so whilst we can say he delivered an entertaining and informative speech we can report no further.
Annual Dinner – 25 October 2011
To remind you, our special guest speaker this year is FW de Klerk. A lawyer by profession, F W de Klerk, was the last President of apartheid era South Africa. He is best known for engineering the end of apartheid and until 1996 was one of the Deputy Presidents of South Africa during the presidency of Nelson Mandela. Amongst the many awards he has received is the Nobel Peace Prize of 1993, which he was awarded with Nelson Mandela for his role in ending apartheid.
We expect the Dinner to be a popular event. Please make a note in your diaries of the date. An application for tickets will be circulated later in the year.
Spring Lecture Series
You should have received details of our Spring lecture series.
The lecture on 4 May 2011 entitled “An update on Developments in Banking Litigation” by Gregory Mitchell QC and Jonathan Davies-Jones has already taken place.
That planned for 6 April 2011 “Life after FSMA” from Charles Flint QC has been rescheduled to 25 May 2011.
The future lectures are:
- 8 June 2011 “The Bribery Act 2010” - David Huw Williams QC
- 21 June 2011 “Article 6, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and common law – what does the duty to be fair mean now? – Helen Mountfield QC
List of Supervising Solicitors
As you might know the White Book refers to the LSLA maintaining details of individuals who may be able to act as supervising solicitors for the execution of Search Orders. We are currently updating our list and invite those suitably qualified to provide us with their details, including relevant experience, for inclusion on the list. Please send you details to Alex Luke on email@example.com.
Second Visit to the Supreme Court
At the end of last year members of the LSLA visited the Supreme Court for a tour of the Court and an informative talk by Louise Di Mambro (Registrar of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and Acting Registrar of the Privy Council) about the role of The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The event was so well received that we decided to repeat it sometime this year. We shall let you know when we have a date.
End of Immunity for Expert Witnesses
As many of you will have read, the Supreme Court has put an end to the immunity from civil claims expert witnesses have enjoyed in relation to the evidence they give in Court. Although expert witnesses will continue to be protected from libel claims by the defence of absolute privilege, the Supreme Court decided in Jones –v- Kaney  UKSC 13, that they should not longer benefit from their long establish immunity.
Draft Defamation Bill
On 11 March 2011 the Ministry of Justice introduced a consultation into the draft Defamation Bill. A copy of the consultation paper can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/draft-defamation-bill-consultation.pdf. Amongst the changes proposed are:
- “a requirement that a statement must have caused substantial harm in order for it to be defamatory
- “a new statutory defence of responsible publication on matters of public interest
- “a statutory defence of truth (replacing the current common law defence of justification)
- “a statutory defence of honest opinion (replacing the current common law defence of fair/honest comment)
- “provisions updating and extending the circumstances in which the defences of absolute and qualified privilege are available
- “introduction of a single publication rule to prevent an action being brought in relation to publication of the same material by the same publisher after a one year limitation period has passed…
- “removal of the presumption in favour of jury trial, so that the judge would have a discretion to order jury trial where it is in the interests of justice”
We are preparing a response for submission before the deadline on 10 June 2011. If you would like to contribute please contact Alex Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EU Collective Redress
The European Commission recently published a consultation paper entitled “Towards a Coherent European Approach to Collective Redress”. A copy of the paper can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/consulting_public/news_consulting_0054_en.htm.
The stated purpose of the consultation was “inter alia to identify common legal principles on collective redress…examine how such common principles could fit into the EU legal system… [and] in which fields different forms of collective redress (injunctive and/or compensatory) could have an added value for improving the enforcement of EU legislation or for better protecting the rights of victims.”.
The LSLA prepared a response for submission by the deadline on 30 April 2011, a copy of which shall be posted on our website as soon as possible.
Reform of the Competition Regime
On 16 March 2011, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills published “A Competition Regime for Growth: A Consultation on Options for Reform”. The consultation is designed to achieve the Government’s overarching objective to reform the competition regime to “maximise the ability of the competition authorities to secure vibrant, competitive markets that work in the interests of consumers and to promote productivity, innovation and economic growth”.
A copy of the paper can be found at http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/consumer-issues/docs/c/11-657-competition-regime-for-growth-consultation.pdf.
We are preparing a response for submission before the deadline of 13 June 2011. Please contact Alex Luke at email@example.com if you would like to put forward your views to us.
Solving Disputes in the County Courts
Also in March, the MoJ issued a consultation entitled “Solving Disputes in the County Courts: Creating a simpler, Quicker and More Proportionate System”. A copy of the paper can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/docs/solving-disputes-county-courts.pdf.
Amongst other matters, the consultation seeks views on proposals to:
- raise the small claims limit;
- simplify and improve the enforcement of judgments
- require all cases below the small claims threshold to have attempted settlement by mediation and introduce mediation information/assessment sessions for claims of higher value
- change the jurisdiction of county courts so that the High Court is used for more complex claims and those of high value only
Again, we are preparing a response for submission before the deadline of 30 June 2011. Please contact Alex Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org with any views you have.
Fee Increases in the Supreme Court
The MoJ has also published a consultation into proposed fee increases in the Supreme Court. A copy of the paper and list of questions can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/consultation-cp-2011.htm.
We shall draft a response for submission before the deadline of 13 June 2011 and should welcome your views to Alex Luke at email@example.com.
The LSLA and its Committee members have received various press and written several articles which have been published over the past month including:
- 22 March 2011, Solicitors Journal, “Globe Trotter – Procedures in other Jurisdictions can open up New Opportunities for Practitioners” by David Greene.
- 23 March 2011, The New Law Journal announced the commencement of the LSLA Spring Lecture Series (pdf attached)
- 29 March 2011, Law Society Gazette, “Government Announces Implementation of Jackson’s Reforms” mentioned comments by Seamus Smyth (see http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/government-announces-implementation-jackson-s-reforms)
- 30 March 2011, Law Society Gazette, “An Alternative View on Litigation Costs” by Seamus Smyth (http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/opinion/comment/civil-litigation-alternative-view-containing-costs)
- 31 March 2011, The Times, “Days Numbered for Excessive Fees”, mentioned comments by Seamus Smyth (pdf attached)
- 19 April 2011, Solicitors Journal, “Cracking the Crema Egg” by Georgina Squire (pdf attached)