• 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

Legal Viewpoint April 2018

19 Apr 18

Claimant Lawyers’ Costs Recovery Upheld by SC.

The journey through the lower courts between a claimant law firm and a defence insurer for recovery of the fixed costs it should have recovered if the insurer had not gone over the firm’s head to drive settlements directly with its clients, has now been concluded by the Supreme Court, upholding the Court of Appeal result in the law firm’s favour, in Gavin Edmondson Solicitors Ltd v Haven Insurance Co Ltd  (18 April 2018) The issues of the case were technical, focused on the legal and equitable rights of the law firm to receive fixed costs for successful claims once clients signed up to receive its services, even if those claims were then settled by direct agreement between the clients and their opponents’ insurers, Haven. The Court of Appeal coined and applied some new trust principles to underline the firm’s recovery rights, but the SC held these were not needed, because inherent rights to recover fixed costs arose under voluntary arrangements to which Haven was committed.

No Cherry Picking

In Property Alliance Group Ltd v The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (2 March 2018) the Court of Appeal produced an interesting directive that although ‘there is no property in a witness’, so that someone who provides a statement for one party, but isn’t called to testify, can nevertheless be called by another party if their evidence is believed to be relevant, that other party cannot cherry pick and submit in evidence isolated parts of the witness’ statement. If their statement is to be admissible at all, with or without the witness being called, then it must be the whole and complete statement.

State the Case, and Nothing But the Case.

Reminders and findings by the courts that statements of case should conform to necessary rules of clarity – ie of sufficient but no greater length or complexity than necessary to enable opponents to understand the case they have to meet - are always welcome, because too often parties are allowed to get away with pleadings that are absurdly incomplete or disproportionately prolix.  In Brown and another v AB [2018] EWHC 623 (QB) (21 March 2018), a High Court Judge has disallowed amendment of a defence pleading because it was so well stocked with comment and opinions that the real substance of the defence case was obscured and it could not be the court’s job to redraft it or extract the relevant pith.

 

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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.