Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Will victory for 'leave' prove a defeat for freedom of choice?

I often speak to people who wish to claim on a legal expenses insurance policy to assist with the cost of instructing a solicitor, but who are being told by their insurer that they must use the insurer’s preferred ‘panel’ solicitor. As...

Court fees - yet more increases on the way

The title of this article may invoke a feeling of déjà vu or you may think that we are behind the times because court fee increases have just taken place - you may even have read recent articles on this topic by us!  However, although...

High Court scheme targets one-year litigation

On 1 October 2015 a judge-led reform was implemented in the High Court. The Shorter Trial scheme aims to bring matters to trial within 10 months of a case being brought and a judgment expected within 6 weeks. The scheme is optional at the time of writing;...

Court of Protection appoints deputy living in the USA

A contested application has been heard in the Court of Protection concerning an elderly lady suffering from dementia. Her daughter, who resides in the USA had applied to be appointed as her deputy but objections were raised by her siblings and niece, living...

The dangers of falling foul of the overriding objective

The Jackson reforms, aimed at controlling the costs of civil litigation and improving access to justice, were implemented in April 2013. In the run up to the reform’s implementation, the Court of Appeal made it clear there would be an increased focus...

Construction litigation in practice

I act for a local company that is the defendant in a construction dispute.  One of its suppliers is claiming that it supplied goods and services to my client, worth in the region of £50,000. You’re probably wondering what “goods and...

"Lawyers are expensive" and "litigation costs a fortune"

As a dispute resolution lawyer I am all too aware that people are often deterred from instructing lawyers to assist in recovering debts or pursuing claims, or in defending such claims, due to their perception of the high cost involved.   I’m not...

Valuer not negligent where report used for purpose outside scope of instruction

In the recent case of Freemont (Denbigh) Ltd v Knight Frank LLP, the High Court has reinforced the proposition that a valuer instructed to produce a report to a lender for security purposes does not owe a duty of care to an investor who subsequently relies...

Dilapidations - tips for tenants when moving premises

The natural tendency when a business moves is to focus on the new premises.  However, when a lease comes to an end a tenant will usually face a claim from their landlord for the cost of repairs and redecoration necessary to put the property into the...

Make your 'mark' to avoid legal woes

Businesses across Chelmsford and the region are urged to protect their products or brands by the use of a registered trade mark. The advice comes from intellectual property lawyer Claire Wiles, part of the dispute resolution team at Essex based law firm...

Plebgate MP case and budgeting for court costs

The Andrew Mitchell MP case continues its impact as further cases prove the strength and broad extent of its reach. In Mitchell’s case, the High Court ruled that his libel budget would be capped to court fees, due to his solicitor’s failure to...

Can you afford to sue?

It is often said that the only winners in litigation are the lawyers!  A new funding approach may help. It is true that resolving disputes can cost a lot in legal fees but to resolve  a dispute or obtain justice incurring these costs is...

Getting your house in order

Streamlining construction projects to maximise efficiency and minimise downtime is vital in the present climate.   Many companies manage this successfully, but as quotes lower in an attempt to win instructions, maintaining quality becomes ever more...

Fees in the employment tribunal

From this summer, claimants who make a claim in the employment tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) for the first time will have to pay an issue fee on submitting their claim or appeal as well as a hearing fee before the full hearing.   ...

Does an employee have to inform a new employer of litigation with an old employer?

The question has often been asked whether an employee has to inform their new employer about any claims they are against their previous employer. Both the employment tribunal and the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) had an opportunity to consider this point...

Does LIBOR affect your interest rate?

  In recent weeks, there have been further developments in the LIBOR scandal. RBS has become the latest bank to be fined for involvement in fixing the LIBOR rate - in addition to Barclays and UBS.  It seems likely that other banks may also be...

When right of way is not enough

Most people would agree that it is usually preferable to own the access to your property but this is not always possible. There are down sides to owning your own access, such as the costs of maintaining and repairing it and preventing trespass, so when...

Managed realignment

No landowner wants to lose land, but with the ability to recover loss of revenue and additional Higher Level Scheme (HLS) income, coupled with creation of dwindling habitats and new approach to coastline management, managed realignment no longer needs to be...

Libor and rate swapping

These subjects have created huge headlines recently.  They centre on the fixing of the LIBOR interest rate at an artificial level.  They also focus on products sold to protect businesses from increases in interest rate rises (when in fact the rates...

Can an MD suspend the Chairman?

In most companies, it is commonly accepted that a Managing Director will not have the power to suspend a Chairman, due to the Chairman’s arguably more senior role.  In the case of Smith v Butler (2012) the Chairman, Smith, owned 68.8% of the...

Cyber security - Is your business protected?

In a world where the number of websites, e-mails and electronic files increases on a daily basis it has never been more important to protect your business against threats to cyber security. For that reason the government has published advice for...

Decline in insolvencies

Statistics released by the Insolvency Service for Q2 2012 show a 3.6% decrease on the previous quarter with 4,115 compulsory liquidations and creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs).  The decrease was entirely in compulsory liquidations with...

What threats do climate change pose to land owners and occupiers?

The increase in flooding, both globally and on a local scale, highlights the impact of climate change. We will all have seen recent devastating flooding across vast swathes of Australia, covering an area the size of France and Germany, and 2007 saw similar...

Be aware - a company can be guilty of harassment!

Recently the court in Kosar v. Bank of Scotland Plc T/A Halifax [2011] has again confirmed that a company can be guilty of harassment under s.1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (the Act).  The key wording here is “A person must not...

Do not slip up in the bad weather

At this time of year, with snow and ice on the ground, many property owners and occupiers are worried that they may be held liable if anyone slips and falls at their property. There seems to be a popular view that if property owners try to clear away any...

Asbestos, the silent killer

Asbestos was widely used as a building material between the 1940s and 1970s due to its strength, flexibility and insulating properties.  However, according to the Health & Safety Executive, asbestos exposure is now the greatest cause of work-related...

Pensions legislation

From October this year new laws will require employers to automatically enrol eligible "jobholders" in a pension scheme.  Eligible jobholders are aged between 16 and 74, normally work in the UK under a contract of employment and are paid...

Lifes inevitabilities

The fact that you will need a funeral is one of life’s inevitabilities.  However, the cost of even the most basic funeral is out of reach for many people.  Funeral costs have risen, on average, by 7.32% per annum over the last five years...

The rise of fraudulent compensation claims

With the political spotlight on the so called “compensation culture” and numerous news stories appearing in the press about “crash for cash” road accident claims, the courts are showing a greater appetite for giving prison sentences...

Landowners advised to secure their land against unlawful entry ahead of proposed Dale Farm eviction

After a decade-long battle the proposed eviction of Dale Farm in Essex is due to take place today [19 September] – sparking concern among the region’s farmers and landowners as to where those evicted will go. The residents of Dale Farm may...

Home is where the hay barn is!

A couple has recently lost the right to continue to live in a £500,000 luxury home, that was disguised as a hay barn. Having applied in 2001 for planning permission to build a hay barn in a Green Belt zone, they promptly built what appeared to be a...

Birkett Long transforms board room into live court room for the day

Birkett Long turned a boardroom into a court room for the day by using live video link technology to speak to witnesses living in Australia and win a client’s boundary dispute claim. The Essex law firm, which has offices in Colchester and Chelmsford,...

Commercial disputes and mediation

Costly to businesses, commercial disputes are best avoided, particularly in the present uncertain economic climate. Such disputes can be detrimental to businesses in many different ways: the cost of management time in dealing with the dispute the...

Check small print to avoid flood misery

As businesses in Essex mop up after this week’s floods, a leading solicitor is urging landlords and tenants to check the small print of their lease as insurers prepare to withdraw flood damage as standard. Flood risk cover has come under the...

Bud Wars

What’s the difference between an American Budweiser and a Czech Budweiser? Quite a lot – but this has not prevented one of the most astonishing series of legal battles over the registration of “Budweiser” as a trade mark of each...

Colin Smith

Mr Smith brought a claim for medical negligence against a local hospital on behalf of the estate of his late wife.  His wife suffered from diabetes and, because unfortunately her diabetic control was poor, she suffered a number of complications arising...

Boundary Dispute Resolution

Boundary disputes often erupt from the smallest of disagreements but can become major issues for those concerned. Where disputes arise over almost valueless pieces of land but the parties involved decide that the outcome is a matter of principle,...

Cotswolds company to appear in first corporate manslaughter trial

Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings will be involved in the first ever corporate manslaughter prosecution, taking place in Bristol Crown Court next February. The company has been charged with offences under the Corporate Manslaughter Act and Corporate Homicide...

Consumers 'being shammed by rogue motor traders'

Rogue traders who scam sellers of second-hand motor vehicles are being targeted by the government. Mike Haley, director of consumer protection at the Office of Fair Trading, said some car sellers have fallen victim to cold calling from rogue traders, who...

Mydeposits.co.uk launches online deposit claim service for tenants

An online dispute service has been launched to make it simpler for tenants to make deposit dispute claims. Mydeposits.co.uk, which provides an insurance-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme, has launched the online service. It is the first of its kind. ...

Car firm hit by health and safety fine

A car firm has been left facing a bill of almost £6,000 after a worker was injured in a workshop accident. Trevor Rollin suffered multiple fractures after a tool rack collapsed on him at the International Automotive Components Group in Southwick. ...

Majority of complaints 'backed by FOS'

More than half of people who complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) in the past 12 months received some form of compensation. Some 57 per cent of complaints were successful, with the most common issues involving credit cards, payment...

Consumers claim currency bought in UK is forged

A lawyer believes consumers should be offered greater legal protection after holidaymakers have claimed money they bought through UK bureaux de change included forged notes. Don MacDonald told the BBC that he found that currency he purchased from the Post...

Police ordered to delete photographs of protester

Police have been told to destroy images of peaceful campaigners protesting against the arms trade. The Court of Appeal ruled that police surveillance teams photographing protester Andrew Wood has interfered disproportionately with Mr Wood’s right to...

False rape claim victim wins compensation

In what was described as a ‘landmark’ ruling, a man falsely accused of rape is believed to have become the first victim to win compensation under the criminal injuries scheme. Clive Bishop was arrested on suspicion of raping a 17-year-old girl...