Archive for February, 2009

Feb 20 2009

English litigation: 140 times more costly than the European average?

Published by under International law

Thanks to a rather inaccurate1 article in yesterday’s Guardian for pointing to a study by the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford on the comparative costs of defamation proceedings in eleven European jurisdictions, not including Scotland. The conclusion, describing the exorbitant cost of a decision to litigate in England rather than elsewhere, was this:

The data showed that even in non-CFA cases (where there is no success fee or insurance) England and Wales was up to four times more expensive than the next most costly jurisdiction, Ireland. Ireland was close to ten times more expensive than Italy, the third most expensive jurisdiction. If the figure for average costs across the jurisdictions is calculated without including the figures from England and Wales and Ireland, England and Wales is seen to be around 140 times more costly than the average2.

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  1. The author believes, for example, that we have Conditional Fee Agreements in Scotland. [back]
  2. Page 3. [back]

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Feb 18 2009

Unmonitored self-certification and the professional responsibilities of solicitor-advocates

Published by under Scots law

Woodside v HMA, [2007] HCJAC 19, is an Anderson appeal in a murder case in which the defence at trial had been conducted by a solicitor-advocate with “only the most diminished awareness of his responsibilities” on the instruction of a junior solicitor in his own firm. The client was left unaware that he was entitled to be defended by senior and junior counsel. In an important judgment, the High Court (Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Osborne, and Lord Nimmo Smith) considers the professional practice and conduct of solicitor-advocates in Scotland. I commented in an earlier post on the self-certification scam, by which inexperienced and incompetent solicitor-advocates can certify themselves as quasi-QCs for the purposes of legal aid, a scam which neither the Scottish Legal Aid Board nor the Scottish Government have shown energy in stopping. Continue Reading »


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Feb 12 2009

A Mac alternative to CaseMap for a fraction of the price

Published by under Info law

Yesterday the Faculty of Advocates circulated members to notify them of a discount offer on CaseMap, Windows-only software for analysing and presenting case information. After discount, its suppliers LexisNexis are seeking, for the two year bundle and three year bundle respectively, £1,002.60 or £1,423.98.

Advocates are increasingly using Mac rather than Windows laptops, and this is to point out that there is Mac software with practically all of CaseMap’s functionality (the only significant exception is automated Bates stamping, which few advocates are likely to be doing, and which Acrobat does anyway) at a tiny fraction of the price: $34.95. This is Journler, of which an uncrippled demo copy is available for free download here, Continue Reading »


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Feb 03 2009

Lord Clyde on judicial review and public law

Published by under Scots law

Lord Clyde, whose contribution to the building of modern public law in Scotland has been enormous, gave the keynote speech at the conference of the Murray Stable Public Law Group in November. His talk, a summary of which was published in the Journal of the Law Society in December, is available in full here and should be read by anyone with an interest in the reality and development of judicial review and public law in Scotland.

Sadly, that may not include those in the UK government and the Tribunal Service who are pushing to exclude judicial reviews brought by the supposedly undesirable or unimportant or unpopular, such as asylum seekers or benefits claimants, from the Court of Session. Continue Reading »


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