Legal Advice - COVID-19 (Coronavirus) UPDATE

Warning for Property Investors

Giambrone & Law has failed in its challenge to a ruling that it was under a duty to warn property investors of the risks of investing in a part of Italy associated with organised crime. The Court of Appeal upheld Justice Foskett’s decision in July 2017 and the Supreme Court has now refused to hear a second appeal, saying “the application does not raise an arguable point of law”. Various Claimants v Giambrone and Law (A Firm) [2017] EWCA Civ 1193; [2018] P.N.L.R. 2 (CA (Civ Div)).

Richard v BBC

Richard v BBC / Judgment Date: 08 March 2018: CPR Pt.36 did not prevent disclosure of the amount of a settlement reached under the Pt.36 procedure. Part 36 prevented disclosure of the making of an offer, but once an offer had been accepted there was a binding compromise and Pt.36 made no reference to that situation. Whether the sum should be disclosed for the purpose of contribution proceedings would depend on the relevance of the information and the prejudice caused by its disclosure.

War Chest for 3rd Party Funders

Research by law firm RPC indicates that third party funders have a “war chest” exceeding £1 billion for the first time to fund litigation. The rise could stoke an increase in large class actions as funders. Investment rose 42% to £1.03 billion in 2016/17.

Japanese knotweed

Adam and Eleanor Smith have won a landmark case against their neighbour Rosemary Line after claiming they lost £50,000 from the value of their home in Cornwall after Japanese knotweed invaded their garden. Truro County Court found that while it is not illegal to have knotweed on land, it is illegal to allow it to spread, and ordered Ms Line to employ Cornwall Council’s contractor over the next five years to eradicate the weed and pay court costs.

Defamatory Comments on Facebook

Stocker v Stocker [2016] EWHC 474 (QB) (QBD)

Nicola Stocker, who posted defamatory comments about former husband Ronald on Facebook, has lost her appeal against a High Court ruling and now faces legal costs of £200,000.

In 2016, Mr Justice Mitting ruled her online comments to Ronald’s new partner accusing him of trying to kill her wrongly painted him as a dangerous man.

The Court of Appeal rejected her challenge and said Mitting J had “made no error”.

Calculation for Limitation Act…

Matthew v Sedman [2017] EWHC 3527 (Ch)

When a cause of action was completely constituted at the very first moment of a particular day, that day should not be excluded from the calculation for Limitation Act purposes.

At any moment during that day the claimant could bring a claim; and to exclude that day from the calculation would have the effect of giving him an extra day over and above the statutory limitation period for bringing the claim.

Worldwide Freezing Order

CMOC v Persons Unknown [2017] EWHC 3599 (Comm)

There was good reason to extend the principle in Bloomsbury Publishing Group Plc v News Group Newspapers Ltd (Continuation of Injunction) [2003] EWHC 1205 (Ch), [2003] 1 W.L.R. 1633, [2003] C.L.Y. 422 to freezing injunctions. Accordingly, the court granted a worldwide freezing order against persons unknown in connection with an alleged fraud.

Another One Bites the Dust

Judge Dight has more than doubled the amount that Queen guitarist Brian May can recover after he settled a private nuisance dispute, ruling that the costs judge at first instance had misapplied the new proportionality test under CPR 44.3(5). He stated that the costs should be increased from £25,000 to £75,000 after Master Rowley undervalued the sums in dispute and “gave too little weight to the complexity of the litigation”.

For more information see Litigation Futures.

ADR and Civil Justice

In response to the Civil Justice Council’s consultation “ADR and Civil Justice”, the City of London Law Society’s litigation committee outlines problems with the principles of mandating the use of mediation. It opposes compulsory mediation in any proceedings, arguing that mediation “is effective when the parties have voluntarily chosen to participate”. It also comments that more information could be provided to litigants in person about mediation.

For more information see the City of London Law Society.

Default County Court Judgments

A Ministry of Justice consultation seeks comments on the effectiveness and appropriateness of the current processes for money claims issued in the County Court, including limiting the circumstances in which an individual may have a county court judgment (CCJ) made in default against them without their knowledge. Proposals include striking a CCJ from the register immediately once unknown debts are resolved and a judge agrees the person was unaware and better protection for consumers who do not receive mail because it is sent to an old address. Comments by 21 February 2018.

For more details see the Default County Court Judgments consultation.