• A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

    A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis

    Accurate understanding and technical analysis

  • National and International Experience

    National and International Experience

  • 34 years in private legal practice

    34 years in private legal practice

  • A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

    A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

  • Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

    Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

  • There when you need him

    There when you need him

Industry News July 2018

21 Jul 18

The MOJ’s programme for modernising the courts with digitised services, virtual hearings and fewer courts has been criticised  by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee as too rushed, too unclear in its objectives and behind a schedule which is too ambitious. But senior judges are continuing to sell the dream: Chancellor of the High Court Sir Geoffrey Vos has delivered his vision for online justice, proposing more on-line trials at least of commercial disputes where live testimony from factual witnesses is less pivotal.

Meanwhile, following published admissions that some of its fee charges have been exceeding the cost of providing court or tribunal services, the MOJ has announced it is to implement fresh legislation reducing some court fees and introducing a refund scheme for users who have been overcharged.

Three new Supreme Court Justices, including Dame Mary Arden as the third woman on the Court, have been appointed to replace retiring law Lords in October; and seven new Court of Appeal judges. The number of High Court Benchers meanwhile remains 15 judges short of its statutory complement of 108, prompting calls from the Lord Chief Justice for urgent action to redress the ‘steady erosion of judicial terms and conditions’.

 At last a trial scheme is imminent for lawyers to be issued id cards to save queuing for security checks at courts.

The Brexit White Paper has received mixed reviews among lawyers, but primary reactions are frustration that it isn’t clearer how bilateral arrangements between UK and continental law service providers will be conserved.

Payouts for clinical negligence claims against the NHS have risen by 50% to £1.63bn in 2017/18 as a result of the courts’ change last year of the ‘discount rate’ applied in measuring injury damages.

A report by Corruption Watch has criticised court procedures and listing systems as too vague and short-notice for significant corruption cases to be properly covered by journalists, inhibiting ‘open justice’.

In the latest matrimonial case to reach the Supreme Court, Mills v Mills,  the trial judge’s decision not to increase an ex-husband’s maintenance payments to his former wife after she mismanaged her affairs has been upheld (reversing the Court of Appeal).

The Legal Ombudsman has reported a 4% increase in its caseload, reflecting a diminution of minor complaints attributed to better complaints handling by law firms, but an upsurge in more complex disputes.

Implementation of the Government’s proposed injury claims reforms, which are set to reduce lawyer involvement in low value and soft-tissue injury cases, is to be delayed by a year to April 2020, allowing more time for law firms to adjust and prepare.

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Professional Risk Expertise

Mike Willis has worked with a diverse range of professions including...

The FMWL Approach …

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis;
  • Focus on duty, causal event(s) and consequences; not gossip…
  • Sensitive but objective empathy;
  • Overarching commerciality; and
  • Clear aims, with vision where necessary to explore indirect routes to solutions.