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.
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.
Stocker v Stocker  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”.
Matthew v Sedman  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.
CMOC v Persons Unknown  EWHC 3599 (Comm)
There was good reason to extend the principle in Bloomsbury Publishing Group Plc v News Group Newspapers Ltd (Continuation of Injunction)  EWHC 1205 (Ch),  1 W.L.R. 1633,  C.L.Y. 422 to freezing injunctions. Accordingly, the court granted a worldwide freezing order against persons unknown in connection with an alleged fraud.
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.
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.
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.
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid has confirmed that the Government intends to support legislation that will help to ensure rented homes are give tenants the right to take legal action when landlords fail to exercise their duties.
Under a Private Members Bill, tenants will be able to take their landlords to court if they don’t ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the beginning of the tenancy and throughout. In addition to the legislation, the Government plans to introduce a database of rogue landlords and property agents convicted of certain offences.
For more information click here to read the government’s press release.
China Town Development Company Ltd v Liverpool City Council. The court granted an injunction preventing a city council from presenting a winding up petition as there was a genuine argument that a premium for two leases expressed as being GBP 2.5 million was to be apportioned between the two, and was arguably not all due on completion of the first lease.
For more information see the England and Wales High Court (Chancery Division) Decisions.