High Court judge left unimpressed after barristers spoke too quickly

Bar college students take word

A High Court judge has been left lower than impressed over the conduct of a listening to by which barristers spoke so quickly in court docket that the transcriber might not proceed.

In a postscript to his ruling in Libyan Funding Authority v Credit score Suisse Worldwide & Ors, His Honour Judge Pelling QC mentioned the pace and brevity of the oral advocacy had been unacceptable and could lead on to a price sanction.

The functions for abstract judgment or to strike out the claims had been listed for a time that was “manifestly too short” given the variety of events concerned, the variety of points raised, the quantity of evidential materials generated and authorities relied on, the judge mentioned. In complete, 15 barristers had been concerned, together with seven QCs, for a listening to that lasted simply six days in June and July 2021.

The judge mentioned this led to the shortening of the oral submissions to pressure them into the allotted time, and that on the final day submissions had been “spoken at a speed that made them almost incomprehensible”.

The transcriber complained twice in regards to the pace at which submissions had been delivered, earlier than saying she was unable to proceed, leading to an early mid-day adjournment. The judge famous within the postscript that issues improved thereafter however solely by the events making references to their bundle which meant that he would then need to unbundle their factors after the listening to was full.

“None of this is remotely acceptable,” mentioned Judge Pelling. “Oral advocacy remains the main-stay of the way civil litigation in England and Wales is conducted and it is not acceptable oral advocacy to reduce submissions to little more than a series of references that a judge can then be left to find across a vast bundle (assuming that all the references given are accurate) in an attempt to provide a coherent judgment within an acceptable time.”

The judge added that this was all of the extra unacceptable as a result of the events had ready the case “without either restraint or constraint or any attempt at achieving proportionality”. The bundle ‘master index’ ran to 44 pages, with the listening to bundle consisting of 36 separate bundles of proof and attachments to witness statements working to “many thousands of pages”.

“This is material that would have justified a trial measured in weeks rather than days, not an application hearing listed as it was”, the judge mentioned, including: “I will consider on hand down whether to impose a cost sanction in respect of this conduct.”

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