October 26, 2017

Group Litigation - Hutson v Tata Steel

Judge refuses application to add a firm of solicitors as a lead firm in group litigation case

A Group Litigation Order had been made in this case and certain lead solicitors were identified in the order. Another firm of solicitors applied to be added as a lead firm. CPR r19.13 gives the court case management powers to appoint lead solicitors.

Turner J refused the application. He noted that adding another firm of solicitors would increase the aggregate claimants' costs bill and lead to a duplication of effort. Furthermore there had been disagreements between the existing and proposed firms: for example, the firm seeking to be added had instructed two experts to provide reports on the expert evidence already collated by the lead solicitors.

The judge noted that: "The important point is that the GLO framework requires firm and consistent organisation. Internal clashes between lead solicitors on significant matters of case management and control and flavoured by personal animosity are antipathetic to the orderly progress of the litigation as a whole". Furthermore, an increase in the number of lead solicitors was likely to increase the demands on the court's own resources.