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A stricter approach under the new CPR rules

07 Jun 2013, 16:17 by Priya Bakshi

Labels: barrister, barristers, high-court, judge, judgment, lawyer, particulars-of-claim

The impact of the Jackson reforms on the CPR rules is
showing, with a tougher approach displayed by the courts on missed deadlines. 

The case of Venulum Property Investments Ltd v Space Architecture & Others[2013] EWHC 1242 (TCC) was heard before the High Court. The Claimant applied for permission to extend time for service of the Particulars of Claim as the solicitors incorrectly calculated the deadline for service.

The courts' discretionary power to extend time in such circumstances is
governed by CPR 3.9. Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart recognised that this rule had been significantly amended from 1 April 2013. The old rule allowed the court to have a more general consideration with a list of nine factors to consider.  Under the new rule:

"The court will consider all the circumstances of the case, so as to
enable it to deal justly with the application, including the need-

(a) for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate
cost; and (b) to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and orders."

Accordingly, the court refused to allow an extension for serving the
Particulars of Claim. In reaching this outcome the court considered the five year delay in bringing the claim, the claim
against the defendant not being strong and the fact that the claim for bad
faith was pleaded in vague terms. 

Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart concluded in his judgment, "when the circumstances are considered as a whole, particularly in the light of the stricter approach that must now be taken by the courts towards those who fail to comply with rules following the new changes to the CPR, this is a case where the court should refuse permission to extend time. The Claimant has taken quite long enough to bring these proceedings and enough is now enough."

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Christopher Knowles attends careers talk held at Loughborough University

21 Nov 2011, 16:02 by John Snell

Labels: barrister, barristers, contract, criminal-law, employment-law, land-law, lawyer, pupil

Always keen to support those interested in a career at the Bar, New Walk Chambers were amongst the speakers at the "A career in law" careers talk held at Loughborough University on the 9th November 2011.

Christopher Knowles attended the event and gave a talk on a  career at the Bar and the life of a Pupil Barrister. He was one of three speakers at the event - the other two being representatives from the Government Legal Service and the College of Law.

His talk covered the numerous routes to a career as a Barrister, and what chambers would be looking for in prospective pupils and how to apply for pupillage.During the course of the talk, Christopher touched upon the Inns of Court, the Bar Professional Training Course and CV and application form tips.

Following the talk, Christopher remained behind to answer questions from students and participated in an exercise with the College of Law, which covered aspects of the core modules which would be studied on the graduate diploma in law course, namely contract, criminal, tort, land, constitutional, equity and trusts, and european law.

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The use of expert evidence in fast track and multi-track cases

09 Jun 2008, 15:17 by Kate Richards

Labels: barristers, civil, evidence, expert, fast-track, judge, multi-track, solicitors

The Protocol for the Instruction of Experts to Give Evidence in Civil Claims (CPR Part 35 Protocol) states:

"Expert witnesses perform a vital role in civil litigation. It is essential that both those who instruct experts and experts themselves are given clear guidance as to what they are expected to do in civil proceedings."

This blog will aim to provide a summary of what is required by barristers and solicitors who are instructed on fast track or multi-track cases involving experts.

The first thing to bear in mind when an expert has been instructed is that generally expert evidence will be presented in a written report. This is unless the court directs otherwise. For claims allocated to the fast track an expert witness is not required to attend court unless it is necessary in the interests of justice. In particular, the court will have regard to the proportionality of the cost of attendance of the expert(s) to the value and complexity of the claim. Written questions may be put to the expert within 28 days of the service of the report. It is important to note that these questions must be for clarification purposes only unless by permission of the court or consent of the other party.

Usually a single joint expert will be appointed in fast track cases. However, in multi-track cases the appointment of separate experts is often appropriate where there are a number of substantial issues. For example, this can be particularly appropriate in clinical negligence cases where there may be two schools of thought concerning the medical issues involved.

Where expert evidence is required to be given orally at court the general principles governing witness handling are fundamental. Specifically with expert evidence there may be matters that are extremely complex in nature and parts of a report which are unintelligible. One of the main jobs for the advocate in asking supplementary questions in examination-in-chief should therefore be to ensure that the Judge can understand the expert's evidence!

In cross-examination of an expert witness an effective way of challenging their evidence is to prove that they are outside their expertise or that they are incompetent. It is also essential to dispute the validity of any inferences drawn in the formation of an expert opinion. One way of achieving this may be to identify the facts and instructions upon which the expert's evidence is based and demonstrate the falsity of these, thus in turn undermining the opinion. Unlike most other evidence, expert evidence usually requires re-examination. Clarification is often required given the likelihood for misunderstanding what has been stated in cross-examination.

Most importantly, in all civil cases where expert evidence is required mastery of the subject matter of the expertise is vital. A conference with the expert prior to the hearing can be a useful method of explaining areas of unfamiliarity.

Written by K Richards.

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Public Access Barrister

06 May 2008, 12:12 by Ruth Manning

Labels: administration, bar-council, barristers, commercial-law, direct-access, public-access

  Ruth Manning of New Walk Chambers, Leicester, was called to the Bar in 1993 and has completed the Public Access training course and is registered with the Bar Council to advise and act directly on behalf of the public without the need for them to instruct a solicitor or intermediary. The obvious benefit of this is that it saves costs whilst providing an excellent standard of service to those who instruct her.

Ruth has enjoyed a varied legal background in both the public and private sector and works as a part-time tutor at the College of Law. She is an experienced barrister in the following areas.

Commercial Law:-Breach of contract, building disputes, sale of goods, personal injury, public liability, consumer credit agreements.

Education Law:- she has worked extensively for LEA's on Education and Exclusion Appeals. Ruth can draw on such experience to advise and assist parents who find themselves involved in appeals against unfavourable decisions in respect of school places and school exclusions.

Family Law proceedings :- matters involving Children Act 1989 proceedings, injunctions and occupation orders under Family Law Act 1996, and financial settlements (ancillary relief) under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

Immigration Law:- Appeal in the Immigration courts regarding asylum claims, visa  appeals and deportation appeals.

Ruth is available to advise in writing, in conference, to assist with drafting letters  and forms for clients to send both before and during legal proceedings, to assist with drafting pleadings and to provide representation and advocacy at court hearings.

 New Walk Chamber's clerks are available to assist with the agreement of fees and dealing with initial instructions.

They can be contacted by e-mail: clerks@newwalkchambers.co.uk. Telephone 0116 255 9144.

The Bar Council web site, http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/  provides useful guidance for the lay client on public access to barristers.

Written by Ruth Manning, Barrister at New Walk Chambers, specialising in Direct Access.

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Direct Public Access

11 Apr 2008, 10:49 by Karl Prosser

Labels: bar-council, barristers, direct-access, instructions, public-access, services

Direct Public Access to the services of a barrister has been available to the general public since 2004; however only those barristers that are beyond thee years of call, have undertaken specific training and are registered with the Bar Council are eligible to provide such services.

 Since 2004 there has been a steady increase in the number of Direct Access instructions and in the number of barristers offering their services on a Direct Access basis. Due to the continued success of the Direct Access scheme a dedicated Public Access Bar Association was launched in 2007, and more recently an associated website has been launched which provides useful information to the general public and Direct Access barristers alike.

 Written by Karl Prosser, Barrister at New Walk Chambers, specialising in Civil Law.

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