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Edward Bennett
Edward Bennett
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Bleak House II: The Interveners
Date:18 JUN 2013

Alexander Chandler

Barrister, 1 King's Bench Walk, Temple, London

An increasing number of claims for financial remedy are de-railed by the intervention of a third party. Typically, the court gives "TL v ML" directions, involving pleadings and separate witness statements before the preliminary issue is tried as if it were before a Chancery Division judge. The delays and costs can be horrendous, reminiscent of the fictional case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce:

"If Charles Dickens were alive today, the twists and turns of this litigation, conducted at vast expense, would provide him with ample copy for a twenty-first century sequel to Bleak House" (Wood v Rost [2007] EWHC 1511, per Peter Hughes QC at [1]). The article considers the following questions:

a) When will an intervener be joined?
b) What happens where a third party declines the invitation to intervene?
c) Procedure and case management
d) Applicable law
e) Costs and
f) The consequences of intervening.

The full version of this article appears in the July 2013 issue of Family Law.