Working With Your Opponent, Not Against In The Legal World
Posted on 28th April 2020
It is an inescapable fact of life currently that nothing is working as it was in January, the streets are deserted, most shops are closed and those that are open are working in ways that would have been unthinkable only a couple of months ago.
How is the legal world adapting?
The Court Service has already reduced the number of Hearings and only those that are deemed absolutely necessary are going ahead. The nation’s Solicitors, including those at MG Legal, your Solicitors in Lancaster, are working mainly from home.
Fortunately, with modern technology this is not the handicap it would have been twenty years ago and broadly speaking, working from home affords all of the same access to cases, emails and correspondence that working from the office does. If you are a new, or existing client, seeking legal advice, then please see our online forms here…….
Allowing more flexibility for both sides
What is made slightly more difficult is that because the nation is on a “lock-down” coordinating client’s instructions and obtaining evidence can take slightly longer, Royal Mail are doing their best but post is taking longer to arrive, it then takes longer for people to be able to return their letters and experts are working in limited ways.
The solution; whilst not written into the formal Civil Procedure Rules, both Claimant and Defendant Solicitors are reaching agreements to double to extensions they are generally granting for compliance with Court Orders. Service of documents by email, something not all firms will normally agree to, is also being recommended, to take postal delays out of the equation. It is expected that, when reviewing any case in the future, because both sides of the industry have agreed and given the highly unusual situation, the Court will permit this flexibility.
Why would the Court allow parties to rewrite the rules?
Generally speaking, they wouldn’t, although the Overriding Objective which guides all parties and the Court effectively states that the aim is to get a matter either to a point of settlement or to a Trial, with the minimum of strain on the Court’s resources.
As a rule, if a matter reaches Trial and the evidence is in place, with no objections from either side, the Court will be happy to see the matter proceed so as to conclude the Trial that day, rather than use the Trial time hearing Applications and Counter-Applications, followed by another day being needed for the Trial itself. It is expected that the Court will approve of these doubled extensions and that no Judge would expect a formal Application to permit evidence that is, strictly speaking, served out of time.
What makes both sides so confident the Court will be ok with it?
Both the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) have agreed the guidance between them. The two major bodies representing each side of the claims industry expect that because of such an industrywide agreement, the Court will view this as a sensible step to take to ensure that, whenever life does return to some semblance of normality, the Court can get on with Hearing and finalising Trials, not wading through several months of backlogged Applications and counter-Applications for non-compliance with the Rules and Court Orders.
Does this mean my case is less urgent or less important?
No, not at all, MG Legal, your Solicitors in Lancaster, still value you as a client as much as we ever have and the Courts do appreciate that your case is important to you. We will still be doing everything we can to ensure that your case proceeds as quickly as possible and hopefully, with far fewer Trials taking place, it may be that insurers look more carefully at settling matters.
We will still be doing all we can to ensure that any set Orders are complied with to ensure that this agreed flexibility is a safety net in the event of unforeseen and unavoidable delays rather than a longer deadline to work towards at a more leisurely pace.
We will still be giving your case the same time, care and attention that it has always received, and we will be applying the same pressure on your opponent to settle your claim.
How to contact MG Legal
You can contact MG Legal, your Solicitors in Lancaster, via phone, email and web-contact form. Currently, we are only offering face-to-face appointments for vitally important matters, assessed on a case-by-case basis. We are operating at 100% efficiency from various locations and we will ensure that your services from MG Legal is not affected by the current Coronavirus lockdown.
Get in touch with MG Legal if you have any queries about your ongoing case or, if you have any new matter you require assistance with. We are happy to accept all new instructions and our Personal Injury, Family & Children, Property and Wills & Probate teams will still be able to offer the same, high standard of service that we have always offered.
We aim to accept all Personal Injury claims on a Conditional Fee Agreement (no win, no fee agreement) basis and most other instructions are offered on a fixed-fee basis. Get in touch with MG Legal and we will pass you straight to a member of the correct specialist team to get the ball rolling straight away.
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