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Nothing new under the sun: prolix pleaders then and now

In a recent Commercial case Standard Bank plc v Via Mat International Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 490 the Court of Appeal drew attention to Khader v Aziz (Note) [2010] 1 WLR 2673, reiterated its warning against the unnecessary length of skeleton arguments and reminded parties of the possibility of the sanction of adverse costs orders. Continue reading

HHJ Pennyweather, the legal arms race and grumpy old judge syndrome

Sometimes I really think that the supposedly cleverest people in the world are in fact the most stupid. A case which came before me last week illustrates this point perfectly. It started life as an uncomplicated personal injury matter which should have settled out of court many years ago. But instead what happened was that Continue reading

Paying LiP service to April fools

It’s often said that a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.* But a lay person who cannot get legal aid or insurance to cover the cost of a lawyer is not a fool – merely a victim of the new regime under LASPO (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Continue reading

Litigants in Person: a cautionary tale

It’s often said that a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. The trouble is, when it’s your own case, you are more likely to be persuaded of its rightness as a cause and blinded to its weakness as a case. This is no less true of lawyers than anyone Continue reading

The Cab Rank Rule: still driving the Bar?

What is the meaning and purpose of the so-called Cab Rank Rule in the context of the new legal services market? Is it a Holy Cow or Shibboleth, taken for granted but more honoured in the breach? Or is it still a driving principle, a philosophical touchstone that underpins the approach of advocates to their Continue reading

Direct access to a barrister: Standards Board reviews training requirements

The Bar Standards Board, which regulates barristers in England and Wales, has announced that the training  barristers undergo for providing legal services directly to clients (i.e. without being instructed by a solicitor), is to be overhauled. Among the changes announced will be “an element of formal assessment to make sure that barristers have the knowledge Continue reading

Judges on strike: could it happen here?

Judges in Egypt have threatened to go on strike in protest against a decree, issued by new president Mohammed Mursi, the terms of which place the president above any law and declare that his decisions cannot be challenged. According to reports from the International Business Times, the decree purports to give the president immunity from Continue reading