Family Law Awards 2020
Shortlist announced - time to place your vote!
Court of Protection Practice 2020
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Latest articles
Resolution issues Brexit notes for family lawyers ahead of IP completion day
Family lawyer organisation, Resolution, has issued two joint notes to assist family lawyers in England and Wales ahead of the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period at 11 pm on 31 December...
Online filing is real-time on New Year's Eve: practice direction change to accommodate EU withdrawal arrangements
I have heard that there will be an amendment to the relevant practice directions to provide that online applications received on New Year’s Eve after 4:30 PM and before 11:00 PM will count as...
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v AB
The issue in this case concerned AB’s capacity to make specific decisions about treatment relating to her anorexia nervosa. She was 28 years old and had suffered with anorexia since the age of...
EU laws continue until at least 2038 and beyond
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020.  But in matters of law it fully leaves on 31 December 2020.  But EU laws will continue to apply, and be applied, in the English family courts from 1...
Remote hearings in family proceedings – how is justice perceived?
The motion for the recent Kingsley Napley debate:  “This House believes remote hearings are not remotely fair” was carried with a fairly balanced 56% in favour and 44% against....
View all articles

Sandra Davis' Week: The price of justice

Sep 29, 2018, 18:41 PM
Slug : sandradavis06102011-63
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Oct 6, 2011, 09:55 AM
Article ID : 96695

Sandra DavisThe BBC reported last Friday on the latest round of court closures in Shropshire as part of the Ministry of Justice's rationalisation drive that will see up to 142 courts closed in England & Wales. The recent closure of Market Drayton, Ludlow and Oswestry Magistrates' courts and Ludlow and Shrewsbury County Courts will save, the Ministry of Justice claims, £300,000 each year. The business of the closed courts is being transferred to Telford County Court.

Meanwhile, this week saw the start of the trial of Boris Berezovsky's claim for £3.5bn in damages from Roman Abramovich. The action turns on the circumstances in which Berezovsky transferred shares in two Russian companies, "Sibneft" and "Rusal", to Abramovich.

The Abramovich case is being heard by Mrs Justice Gloster sitting in Court 26 of the Rolls Building of the Commercial Court. Both parties have retained a formidable legal team for the litigation which is apparently set to last for three months.

The costs of the litigation are staggering. Earlier this year The Lawyer reported speculation that Abramovich's lead counsel, Jonathan Sumption QC, had collected a brief fee of somewhere between £3 and £10m. Add to that the cost of the other leaders, juniors and solicitors involved and the direct legal spend on the action is likely to top £50m. Then of course there is the hefty expense incurred by the Court Service in providing a High Court Judge and fully staffed court for the next 12 weeks.

What links these two stories is that the overriding objective in all family and civil litigation includes the requirement for "an appropriate share of the court's resources [to be allotted to each case] while taking into account the need to allot resources to other cases".

Of course the issues raised in the Abramovich case are a world removed from the business that is conducted every day in magistrates and county courts across the country. That is not to say though, that the issues being litigated in the Commercial Court are any more or less important to the individuals involved than the cases brought by the users of the 142 soon to be defunct courts.

Perhaps the time is now right for the Ministry of Justice to consider raising a means tested, tax deductable levy from litigants whose trial length exceeds one week. This seems to me an attractive alternative to the mass closure of courts across the country.

Sandra Davis is a Partner and Head of Family at Mishcon de Reya. She is a member of the firm's management board, a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the author of International Child Abduction (Sweet & Maxwell, 1993) and a member of the Lord Chancellor's Child Abduction Panel. In 2009 she was shortlisted in the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards as a Leading Lawyer.

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Related Articles
Load more comments
Comment by from