Big shake-up in court begins
Monday 26 April 1999
The reforms, part of recommendations made by Lord Woolf, the Master of the Rolls, also include greater emphasis on mediation and the use of simple legal language.
Judges have already warned lawyers to expect little mercy if they come to court unprepared.
On Friday, the High Court taxing office was full of solicitors submitting their last bills under the old, more generous costing rules.
Many lawyers have reservations about the initial success of the new system. Sir Richard Scott, Vice-Chancellor of the Supreme Court, head of civil justice, has said the courts' new computer system will not be operating for at least 12 months.
Ian Walker, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said: "It's all very well expecting us to be proactive and dynamic but if the technology can't deal with the changes then there will be problems."
The reforms are designed to stop the sort of litigation madness that allowed a Sheffield man to sue 113 people including his milkman, gasman and God. It cost him only pounds 60. Today each writ, or claim form as it is now called, will cost pounds 500 to issue in the High Court.
n Two-thirds of Labour MPs believe the Government's proposals to open up justice will have the opposite effect, according to the results of a survey released today.
The findings are part of a Harris survey commissioned by the Law Society, which found that two-thirds of Labour MPs thought legal aid should be a right. The Access to Justice Bill proposes to scrap legal aid in most civil cases and replace it with a "no win no fee" arrangement.
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- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 John Smid: Former leader of US ‘gay cure’ group has just married a man
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- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Duchess of Alba dead: Billionaire Spanish duchess who lived life by her own rules, dies at 88
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
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Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
US fire chief caught on camera 'refusing to help crash victims because they're black'
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
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