The season to be jolly is truly well and truly over and trust us 2008 is not going to be a quiet year for litigators.
This is the year when high value complex litigation will come into its own.
Several cases, which have spent years jumping through pre-litigation proceedings, will finally get their big day in court.
The Lawyers annual pick of top cases (see article) includes an unfair competition case between the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Ofcom and three major insurance cases, one of which will decide who was liable in the Buncefield explosion and another will deal with the fallout from the collapse of The Accident Group. All of which have been rumbling on for years.
This week (Thursday) saw the start of one of the biggest cases in the last twenty years. The case will decide the legitimacy of charges to bank customers who exceed their overdraft.
In total eleven banks and one building society are expected to challenge the OFT's claims that banks are breaching rules by charging customers who exceed their overdraft limit. The case hasnt got off to the best of starts with the presiding judge Mr Justice Andrew Smith delaying the start of proceedings due to prior commitments running over.
So big is the line up of QCs acting in the case that it has been moved to the International Arbitration Centre because there wasnt enough space in the Royal Courts of Justice.
Law firm Hammonds is likely to be doing a bit of navel gazing in 2008. It will also be receiving lots of attention from the profession too when its much publicised partnership dispute reaches court.
Six of the top cases for 2007 also continue to rumble on and on and on including a 400m BSkyB claim against Electronic Data Systems (EDS). The broadcasting giant alleges deceit and fraudulent representation over the installation of an electronic billing system.
This is the year when the Commercial Court will be given a makeover in a drive to bring about shorter trials and cut down costs. One area which could do with an overhaul to speed up cases is the employment tribunal. This week The Lawyer revealed another test case (see article) in the NHS equal pay saga, which could undermine the entire Agenda for Change pay deal struck between the government and unions in 2004.
There will be plenty of lessons learned in 2008, and not just in the classroom.