Litigators’ forum teaches judges procedural law

A workshop instructing judges about the letter of procedural law was held by the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) last week (21 May).

The seminar saw 40 members of the judiciary, including the Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips and the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, learn about the nature of work required by solicitors and their clients in complying with the civil procedure rules (CPR) and case management directions (CMDs).

LSLA president Simon Davis said there was a “general recognition” that many in the judiciary have never had to deal with complying with the CPR, which were enacted in 1998.

“For judges who, as practitioners, never dealt with CPR and case management, it would make no sense that a 20-page document could run into thousands of pounds,” explained Davis. “The point of the colloquium was to show them how much time, cost, number of partners and associates complying with CPR and case management takes.”

The workshop was the brainchild of Davis and head of the Commercial Court Mr Justice David Steel. They came up with the idea after looking at the collapse of the BCCI and Equitable cases and recognising that a large factor in the disintegration of super cases is case management.

Sir Richard Aikens, chair of the Commercial Court working party, also attended the event, using it as a forum for his report into ways of streamlining procedure and costs.

Davis said he is in talks with Steel J to make the colloquium a more regular feature on the judicial calendar.