Litigating in the High Court has become the preserve of corporates, super wealthy and the poor. Everyone else need not apply. The UK came to the same conclusion about three decades ago which culminated in the Wollf Reforms in 1996 led by Lord Harry Wolff (great name). The aim of the Wolff Reforms was to address the delay and inefficiency in the system - the logic being if it took less time and less labour intensity then costs would come down. The Irish Judiciary have for decades relied on the UK jurisprudence for direction. However when it comes to UK led reforms in practice and procedure they have looked the other way. The objectives of the Wolff Reforms were to produce less combative litigation and to avoid it altogether. Under Wolff and after him, Lord Jackson, case management became widespread, not like the whimsical approach we have here in Ireland. Strict timetables with costs penalties for offenders were introduced, Pre hearing meetings where costs projections and ADR were discussed became mandatory. Witness statement delivery weeks before a trial were introduced. Also permission to appoint an expert was required. Counsel have to deliver skeletal arguments in advance of a hearing. Evidence has to be shared. Court assessment of costs was introduced instead of the lunacy of taxation of costs system which is currently in paralysis in Ireland. The package of reforms resulted in early settlement offers, swifter timetables, factual accuracy in pleadings, a surge in take up of mediation and less motions. OK its not perfect. No lawyer or Judge in the UK claims it so. But its a hell of a lot better than what we have. Why do I feel that I am the only solicitor that wants this to happen in Ireland. Its long overdue. We have a 19th century system (bar the Commercial Court and the more dynamic divisions of the High Court). This inertia only serves solicitors, barristers and civil servants. Certainly not the multitude who are not super wealthy or poor,
The "crushing cost" of High Court litigation needs to be tackled, according to a senior judge hearing a whistleblower case being taken by Cork-based training firm Euro Safety against State agency FÁS. SHARE The comments by Justice Max Barrett were made as he refused a request by FÁS, now known as Solas, to force Euro Safety to provide a substantial security deposit for costs that the latter would incur if it was to lose the litigation. Euro Safety is suing FÁS for alleged acts of negligence and malfeasance. The firm claims it had been "victimised and blacklisted" for reporting activities of some FÁS staff. Euro Safety provides training for construction workers, including the 'Safe Pass' scheme.