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Things can get better

Judges make mistakes. No judge believes they get it right all the time, as Lord Scott reminded a conference in London last week, says Nick Hilborne

8 April 2014

Was Mitchell a mistake? Many claimant and defendant personal injury lawyers think so. Rarely have the two sides been so united. Rod Evans, former president of the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, took the debate to a new level by suggesting the courts were so clogged up with post-Mitchell technical challenges, arbitration might be a better way forward.

Using the language of Jackson, Matthew Harman, founding partner of Harmans Costs, questioned whether there was any proportionality in some of the sanctions applied by the courts in the wake of Mitchell. The same criticism could be made of the ruling itself, which imposed a sanction completely disproportionate to the breach. When the impact on the justice system as a whole is considered, the judgment fails again.

Dr Andrew Higgins, lecturer in civil procedure at Oxford University, injected a dose of Aussie positivism into the proceedings at the Westminster legal polic...

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