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Disclosure reforms will 'change the culture' - Gloster

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 17:31

Far-reaching reforms being piloted next year will bring about a much needed ‘change in culture’ in relation to disclosure, Dame Elizabeth Gloster told the Law Society’s commercial litigation conference yesterday.

Gloster, who chaired the working group responsible for the changes, said the current rules made wide-ranging disclosure available in too many cases, and was simply not ‘fit for purpose’.

From 1 January, a two-year mandatory pilot of the new disclosure regime will begin in the Business and Property Courts in the Rolls Building in London, and the regional centres of Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

While wide disclosure will still be an option in appropriate cases, the new rules force parties to focus on what documents are really needed at a much earlier stage, and seek to avoid making the disclosure exercise any broader that it needs to be. The rules provide a new menu of five disclosure options.

Solicitor Ed Crosse, partner at City firm Simmons & Simmons and a member of the working group behind the reforms, told the conference that the hardest part of the new regime will be the list of disclosure issues that litigators must agree with the opposition. Lawyers must exchange a draft list of issues 42 days after the final statement of case, to be agreed before the case management hearing. If no agreement is reached, the parties will need to apply for a ‘disclosure guidance hearing’ to resolve the issue.

Crosse said: ‘This is likely to be the most challenging part, and there will be a natural tendency to make the list too broad’.

The pilot imposes new duties on lawyers in relation to disclosure, backed by sanctions. These include a duty to ‘take all reasonable steps’ to assist their client in complying with their disclosure obligations; and to ‘liaise and co-operate’ with the opposition lawyers ‘to promote the reliable, efficient, and cost-effective conduct of disclosure’.

Crosse said these duties had been imposed because solicitors had told the working group that they wanted them.

He said: ‘It may seem like turkeys voting for Christmas, for solicitors to be advocating for duties backed by sanctions, but that is the feedback that we got.’

Crosse added that solicitors felt the duties would be helpful where their opponent’s representatives were not co-operating in the disclosure exercise.

Mr Justice Robin Knowles, also speaking at the conference, added that the new regime would provide a benefit ‘in the international context’ by showing that England and Wales had not just tackled the problem, but was at the ‘cutting edge’ in how it deals with disclosure.

The pilot will apply in the Business and Property Courts excluding admiralty, public procurement, and Intellectual Property Enterprise Court cases, and cases under the shorter and flexible trials scheme or subject to fixed or capped costs.

It will be monitored by Professor Rachael Mulheron of Queen Mary University, and if successful, is likely to be adopted more broadly.

LiP-friendly small claims portal on course for April 2020

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 16:26

Head of the organisation implementing the system says it is not as complicated as people think.

Mobile payments soar among Chinese travellers

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 16:06
Popular travel destinations for Chinese consumers have seen the use of mobile payments surge during the seven-day long 'Golden Week' of Chinese public holidays this October.

Singapore eases robo-advice eligibility regulations

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 16:04
Providers of digital fund management services may qualify for licenses even if they do not meet existing criteria, according to new guidance form the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The guidance also allows for exemptions from some information collection obligations.

Chinese firm awarded $217m worth of Dubai road contracts

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 15:26
China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME) has won contracts for R1086 Dubai Hills Estate Mall Access and Umm Suqeim Street Upgrading. The contracts are worth $217 million (AED800m).

'Manifestly excessive' anti-fracking jail sentences quashed

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:23

Conditional discharges for three protesters imprisoned in September for up to 16 months.

Government urged to fund Brexit stockpiling of medicines

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 13:05
The UK government should help industry to fund the cost of stockpiling medicines ahead of Brexit, a trade body has said.

MPs call for review of 'patchwork' laws on dangerous dogs

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 12:14

Government urgend to commission independent review of current laws by January.

Marcel Miller (clone of authorised firm)

FCA - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:54
Fraudsters are using the details of firms we authorise to try to convince people that they work for a genuine, authorised firm. Find out more about this ‘clone firm’. 

Universities must prioritise support for student mental health

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:48
ANALYSIS: There is growing pressure on universities to improve how they support students with mental health problems.

Duty to care for student mental health has legal implications for universities

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:37
ANALYSIS: Universities have a duty to support students with mental health issues, but there are a series of legal issues that they need to consider which should shape how they do so.

VAT demands issued to UK branches of non-UK financial services companies

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:30
ANALYSIS: Businesses in the financial services sector that outsource group functions to a non-UK group company with a UK branch could face multi million pound VAT challenges.

Government-sponsored panel launched to make UK 'LawTech capital'

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 11:17

Panel will tackle challenges in areas including commercial dispute resolution and education and training.

'Hands off' management of staff stress not an option for universities

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:55
ANALYSIS: It is not an option for universities to adopt a 'hands off' approach to managing staff stress because of their duties under UK health and safety and equality laws.

Large UK businesses fined £59m by HMRC for 'careless' behaviour

Out Law News Feed - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:28
The UK’s largest businesses were charged £59 million in fines by the UK's HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in 2017 for ‘careless’ behaviour in their tax affairs, according to figures obtained by Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-law.com.

DIY probate provider ordered to halt 'limited offer' £29 claim

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 10:11

Advertising watchdog found cut-price offer had actually been in place for six years.

Padmar Investments Limited (clone of authorised firm)

FCA - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 09:25
Fraudsters are using the details of firms we authorise to try to convince people that they work for a genuine, authorised firm. Find out more about this ‘clone firm’. 

SRA given green light to pursue £800,000 Blavo intervention costs

Law Gazette News - Wed, 10/17/2018 - 08:21

Court of Appeal says there were no grounds to set aside statutory demands served on John Blavo.

Judge (partially) retains sanction for partial costs budget

Law Gazette News - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 16:27

But High Court ruling does allow for costs that had been agreed, as mistake was not deliberate.

‘We are at a pivotal point’: Bar Council adds voice to AGFS anger

Law Gazette News - Tue, 10/16/2018 - 16:12

Growing anger over revised fees scheme puts further pressure on government to increase its offer.

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