UK: Professional And Commercial Disputes

Litigation trends

The Ministry of Justice has published its statistics for judicial and court activity in England and Wales for 2011. The figures, published on 28 June, show that overall the volume of litigation dealt with by the High Court in London has increased slightly (by 7%) since 2010.

In 2010, originating proceedings (excluding the Family Division) fell by a quarter from 2009 (see Fig. 1.) In the Queen's Bench Division and Chancery Division in London claims have fallen, and the overall increase in claims is due to an uptick in claims in the Commercial Court, Technology and Construction Court, Companies Court, Bankruptcy Court and Admiralty Court.

The Queen's Bench Division

In the Queen's Bench Division, the number of new claims issued in London fell by 138 and a quarter of the 4726 claims issued were debt claims. Whilst the number of breach of contract claims increased by 44% and there was a slight increase in defamation claims, there were decreases in some other areas, most notably in respect of personal injury (22%) and miscellaneous claims (28%). It is likely that the continuing growth in the take-up of alternative dispute resolution techniques contributed towards keeping the number of new claims below not only 2009 levels, when there was a peak in claims in many areas, but also 2010 levels (see Fig. 2).

The Chancery Division

In the Chancery Division, as with our report last year, it is difficult to compare the current landscape with previous years due to the creation of new categories for claims in 2010. In the Royal Courts of Justice in London there were 4568 claims and originating proceedings issued in the Chancery Division, which is 5% fewer than in 2010. (See Fig. 3 for a breakdown of the types of claim in the Chancery Division in the Royal Courts of Justice.) Overall, there were 35,238 sets of proceedings started in the Chancery Division across England & Wales, which represented an increase of 6% compared to 2010 (albeit still 23% lower than in 2009).

Professional negligence claims

2009 saw a notable increase in the number of professional negligence claims issued in London in the Chancery Division and "other negligence" claims (which includes professional indemnity) issued in London in the Queen's Bench Division. In 2010, however, both categories saw an identical fall of 32%.

Although the number of such claims continued to decrease in 2011, the decline was at a slower rate with claims falling by 20% and 8% in London in the Chancery and Queens Bench Divisions respectively (see Fig. 4). It remains to be seen whether the downward trend in professional negligence claims will continue. There must be a good chance that such claims will rise again as a result of the protracted decline in economic conditions.

The Technology & Construction Court and the Commercial Court

Although the number of claims dealt with in London by the Technology and Construction Court dropped in 2010, 2011 has seen an increase of 7% (see Fig. 5). It is hard to say which factors were at play given the mixed signals coming out of the construction sector. In some areas it may be the result of increased levels of building activity, whereas in others parties may simply be fighting harder over what little construction work there is around.

In the Commercial Court, after a spike in 2009, levels of work dropped back in 2010. However, 2011 saw an increase of 26% to a level of claims above even the number in 2009 (see Fig. 6).

The Appellate Courts

Turning to the appellate courts, in the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) which was created in 2009, replacing the House of Lords, 174 applications for permission to appeal, from the Court of Appeal, Civil Divison and High Court, Civil Division, were decided, of which 49 were allowed, and 125 refused outright (73%). As for full appeals, 59 civil appeals were presented from the Court of Appeal and High Court, and 58 disposed of.

Almost 55% of appeals disposed of were allowed which broadly equates to the position in 2010 (see Fig 7).

In the Court of Appeal's Civil Division, the numbers of final appeals filed and disposed of were up by 8% and 4% respectively. The proportions of appeals allowed, and dismissed remained broadly consistent with 2010 (see Fig. 8) with 41% of appeals being allowed.

The Costs regime

Finally, statistics for the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) show that, whilst the assessments of bills to determine how much a successful party can recover from its opponent remained exactly the same in 2009 and 2010 (1788), the figure rose by 14% in 2011 (see Fig. 9).

Comment

Following the 2009 increase in claims dealt with by the High Court in London, the fall in claims during 2010 came as a surprise to many. The slight increase we have seen this year was more in line with expectations.

Looking ahead to the 2012 figures, professional negligence claims against lawyers and surveyors arising from the fall in asset values may rise as the six year limitation period for cases dating back to the start of the recession draws close. In addition, following the Government's announcement this year that Lord Justice Jackson's civil costs reforms will be implemented in April 2013, it seems very likely that there will be a surge in claims as claimants seek to take advantage of the current regime before the recoverability of success fees and after the event insurance policies is removed for any claims commenced from the implementation date. These factors, together with the drawn-out nature of the economic downturn may well have the effect of driving litigation volumes up in 2012.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.