Barrister calls for civil overhaul

A LONDON Barrister has called for a “cheap preparation procedure” as part of a radical overhaul of the civil law system.

Writing in the current issue of Bar magazine Counsel, Anthony Speaight says the present system should be retained in addition to a new procedure which involves “no paper apart from traditional pleadings, no witness statements, and one court-appointed expert instead of each party calling its own”.

Speaight, of 12 King’s Bench Walk, says the cost of civil litigation has risen dramatically during the past 10 years, and witness statements are the most glaring example of the problem.

“Over the last decade there have been many reforms of civil procedures,” says Speaight. “The theme of most of the innovations, such as written submission and written statements, has been greater use of paper procedures.

“The aim of these changes has been to reduce the cost of litigation. Yet it is universally accepted that over that period the cost of civil litigation has soared.”