“Keep out of Chancery. It’s being ground to bits in a slow mill; it’s being roasted at a slow fire; it’s being stung to death by single bees; it’s being drowned by drops; it’s going mad by grains.” Charles Dickens – Bleak House
The TCC has, for many years, been at the forefront of judicial innovation and has pioneered robust case management techniques to deal with factually and legally complicated disputes. This highly specialist and groundbreaking court publishes an annual report, and the latest, covering 2018 – 2019, shows some intriguing trends.
As usual, the TCC has provided an analysis of the types of claims issued under its auspices. While this is fairly rough and ready, it provides a fascinating snapshot of trends in claims.
This year, construction disputes have increased from 19% to 27%, with adjudication enforcement and “other adjudication” also increasing to 23% from 16%.”Other” claims were 13%, with procurement and miscellaneous tied at 11%. Tree root claims are now down to 4% from last year’s 6%, and professional negligence claims had also declined from 6% to 3%. Party wall and domestic building disputes do not feature, unlike the previous year.
The most striking feature of this year’s report is the increase in the number of claims issued in London, and the decrease in claims issued in some of the regional Technology and Construction Courts. Claims issued in London have increased by a third, up to 571 from last year’s 428. This reflects a steady increase since 2016.
The number of TCC claims issued in Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester decreased from last year, but claims increased in Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle. The increase in Newcastle claims is explained by the appointment of a new TCC judge.
Settlement of TCC claims remains fairly consistent with the overwhelming majority of cases (over 60%) settling before trial, and this is reflective of the robust case management approach adopted by the court throughout proceedings.
The number of applications dealt with by the court has increased by almost 30%, a significant figure, with the report commenting that these were varied in length with the longest running to 4 days in complex litigation.
In line with its forward thinking approach, the 8 regular TCC judges are 50% female.
The TCC Guide is currently being updated by a working group chaired by Mrs Justice Jefford and it is hoped that an updated version will be published later this year to replace the current 2014 version which is now out of date.
The report reflects a busy year for a court which has been at the forefront of judicial innovation in the legal system and demonstrates a continued commitment to providing a flexible, forward thinking, specialist forum for technical and complex disputes.