Supreme Court feels the strain as cases back up

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  • The Supreme Court also hears a lot of non-commercial cases, which means its 12 judges (currently 11 sitting and one temp) spend a lot of time discussing human rights type cases. Surely this has an impact on the waiting time? I am not suggesting that these are of less importance than the commercial cases, just suggesting that it may be time to have two different judicial panels listening to the two different types of cases. Or would this just be madness?

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  • What also will not be helping is the fact that the Court has been operating short-handed for almost six months - and will continue to do so for at least another three months - due to the craven decision to allow Sumption to have one last (at least) seven-figure hurrah in the Beresovsky v Abramovich. Had a judge who was actually willing to join the Court when he or she were needed been selected, the problem would not be as bad.
    Furthermore, the efficiency of the Court must be called into question when one looks at the sitting timetable for this term. The case due to be heard this Wednesday and Thursday has settled, but no replacement has been listed. There is nothing listed for next Monday and Tuesday. At present there is nothing at all listed for the week of 28 November. What is that so if there is a backlog as long as suggested in the article above? Perhaps Lord Phillips shoudl explain...

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  • typically dates are kept free so if anything does crop up there will be an expediated hearing, but it is fair to say the court is one judge short.
    It seems it has been that way since it first opened with Lord Saville tied up on the Bloody Sunday inquiry but still collecting his Supreme Court salary dispute only sitting a few days in a year. We don't need more judges in the SC, what we do need is judges who commit to hearing cases

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  • The SC makes cases for itself in some instances; e.g. how on earth did the Prudetential get leave to appeal on an issue of whether sol-client privilege applies to bean counters giving clients fiscal advice.

    That appeal in Oct. '12 will fail - 1. LPP is governed by strict limits because public policy requires certainty and clarity; 2. there has never been a case in the common law world where sol-client privilege has been extended to accountants, save by legislation.

    This case should never have passed leave to appeal. What a waste of time this appeal is, as is the accountants building up a pot of dosh for the SC appeal .

    The appeal will benefit the lawyers and QCs involved - Simmons, Herbies etc. The SC will uphold the traditional parameters of sol-cliient privilege (oh, and those fees.)

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  • lol ... here it takes nearly 10 years if you wish to get the verdict from Supreme Court ..don't be frustrated, watch India - England ODI for the time being !!

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  • I wonder whether this is part of a master plan to actually deter court use save for those that really want to commit to locking horns under the beak of a judge.

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  • Some may consider this an extraordinary proposition, but why not give the Supreme Court the power to order parties into mediation, even at such a late stage? The thought of an adverse costs order at that level may serve to concentrate minds and encourage co-operation.

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  • By way of answer to some of the above comments:
    1) The court is two down since sumpo hasn't started and Roger died leaving a scottish vacancy.
    2) Both last week's big employment case and this week's scottish case settled about 2/3 weeks ago - how is the supreme court supposed to list cases at such short notice. The amount of preparation by the parties is in all but the most rare cases going to require more than that, and then there will be pre-reading by the judges.
    3) Don't forget that the same judges also make up the privy council. Many of the countries who still use the privy council have a right to appeal without requiring permission, meaning that you get a lot of criminal cases which in this country would get sorted out very quickly by the Court of Appeal.
    4) Costs consequences are unlikely to have much effect in my opinion. The costs built up by the parties in the courts below will be much higher because the Supreme Court's appeals tend to be short.

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