Law society seeks to clarify the “Mitchell” criteria affecting litigation lawyers

Civil litigation cases – law society seeks overhaul over the “Mitchell” judgement

Many cases of civil litigation nowadays are anything but civil as both parties of litigation lawyers vie for an advantage to catch each other out and exploit weaknesses to gain an advantage; instead of cooperating and ensuring cases are brought to trial and providing a speedy resolution.


Listening to key points raised by the Law Society, The Bar Council is considering ways to address the issue and is seeking clarity on the usage of the “Mitchell” criteria in an effort to counter the predominantly used tactics in civil litigation cases; addressing the issue of parties acting in a pedantic, awkward fashion and otherwise slowing the processes down for their parties benefit.


Litigation lawyers will no doubt want to see such changes take place as it will improve their ability to cooperate and tackle the legal issues in their civil cases instead of resorting to avoiding cooperation and stalling. This in turn will lead to a reduction in wasted time and effort dealing with excessive paperwork.


As part of the suggested changes, the Law Society agreed that more effective case management is needed to alleviate these issues however sanctions for non-compliance are only a part of the overall process; an over-reliance of which would reduce judicial flexibility.


The Law Society has argued that the term “trivial” is inadequate to describe non-compliance as it is open to abuse and interpretation. Offering the alternative “Immaterial”, along with what they consider a better description of what would constitute as “immaterial non-compliance” -“neither imperils future hearing dates nor otherwise disrupts the conduct of the litigation


If the Bar Council is able to alter the current usage of the “Mitchell” criteria plaguing litigation lawyers, the overheads of paperwork and legal processes required will potentially be reduced as satellite litigation around this issue should reduce.


Whether the Bar Council follows through with seeking these amendments is yet to be see, however litigation lawyers are no doubt anxious to find out that their workloads will consist of less pedantic paper-work and more case-work.



Law Gazette