CoA 'plebgate' ruling: The legal reaction

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  • It is about time that the judiciary started taking a hard line - Good News -

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  • So what happens now? Do Mr. Mitchell's current lawyers have to keep acting on their CFA - presumably for only a nominal return? If they come off the record, no other firm will touch the matter other than on a conventional fee-paying basis. Even if Mr Mitchell has a potential claim against his current lawyers (and I am not saying he does) where does that leave him as a litigant in the current proceedings? I don't know Mr Mitchell's means but a member of the public would be hard pressed to bounce back from this and fund/fight the case him/herself. The comments in Para 16 of the judgement are chilling and appear terribly idealistic

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  • In response to the above comment, Atkins Thomson have said they'll continue to act on a CFA for Mitchell. They don't really have much choice - they'd probably face a negligence action if they did otherwise.

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  • What about all the other clients of Atkins Thomson.Will they be better off using a larger firm!

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  • By all means send a message to the profession that rules, practice directions and orders need to be complied with but the sanction is out of all proportion with the default. There was, on my reading of the judgment in the Court of Appeal, no suggestion that the defendant suffered any prejudice by the late filing of the costs budget. If CPR 3.9 is to applied in the very restrictive manner as was done in this case, relief from sanction will be rarely granted and one wonders how this accords with the Overriding Objective in CPR 1.1 to deal with cases justly.

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