CoA rejects 'plebgate' appeal, restricts libel costs budget to £2,000

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  • What was that about the quality of mercy not being strained?

    This is a ridiculous decision. The courts are falling over themselves to impose `proportionality' in assessing costs, but seem remarkably reluctant to apply proportionality when the boot's on the other foot.

    This was a relatively minor breach that could perfectly adequately - and justly - have been dealt with by an indemnity costs order to reflect the new Stalinist regime. To penalise a claimant hundreds of thousands of pounds for such an error is not only grossly disproportionate but makes a complete mockery of the notion that the courts are there to administer justice.

    I hope they (or more likely their insurers) take it to the Supreme Court and that some common sense will finally be applied.

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  • It is draconian. Maybe they can get to the Supreme Court (or other) on the basis of a breach of Human Rights?

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  • Proof, if more was needed, that the quality of the judiciary is extremely low.

    They may as well be replaced by a tick box programme on a computer-cheaper and producing the same result, i.e. application of rules without regard to commonsense, let alone justice.

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  • This decision shows how far removed from the real world the judiciary are. The following comment from the Court of Appeal says it all:

    "mere overlooking a deadline, whether on account of overwork or otherwise, is unlikely to be a goodreason. We understand that solicitors may be under pressure and have too much work. It may be that this is what occurred in the present case. But that will rarely be a good reason. Solicitors cannot take on too much work and expect to be able to persuade a court that this is a good reason for their failure to meet deadlines. They should either delegate the work to others in their firm or, if they are unable to do this, they should not take on the work at all. This may seem harsh especially at a time when some solicitors are facing serious financial pressures. But the need to comply with rules, practice directions and court orders is essential if litigation is to be conducted in an efficient manner. If departures are tolerated, then the relaxed approach to civil litigation which the Jackson reforms were intended to change will continue."

    Essentially they are saying that the fact that Lawyers are having to work harder and harder and are under significant financial pressure is irrelevant. Let's put the squeeze on them a bit more! Of course insurance premiums are likely to rocket now, and human nature being what it is mistakes will be made but those mistakes will then lead to satellite litigation and no doubt internal disciplinary action against the individual making the mistake. Still as long as the rules aren't broken that's alright.

    How do they think Litigants in person are going to get on with this. At least it will be easy to dispense with their cases. Box not ticked. Case dismissed.

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  • What happens if Mitchell wants to change solicitors? Is the new firm stuck with the old firm's mistakes? Doesn't this decision basically force Mitchell to stick with solicitors who have already proved to be negligent? How is that in the interests of justice?

    What happens in the next case if the firm cannot afford to continue? Leaving a litigant without representation? How does this fit with the right to justice enshrined in the HRA? One decent case on this going forward would cost more than the savings...

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