The Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Vos, has handed down an important judgment in McParland & Anr v Whitehead  EWHC 298 (Ch) giving guidance to parties as to how to approach disclosure in the Business and Property Courts under the disclosure pilot. Aidan Reay of Kings Chambers was instructed by the Claimants in the matter.
Handing down a reserved judgment on Friday 14 February 2020, the Chancellor confirmed that the list of issues for disclosure should be concise and should not look to replicate all the issues in the case. The list should, instead, be focussed only on those issues for which disclosure is required.
The Chancellor also confirmed that the parties should avoid over-complicating their approach to the applicable model for disclosure.
This judgment will provide welcome clarification to litigators on the approach to adopt when dealing with the disclosure under the pilot. The guidance within the judgment that parties should cooperate and not seek to score tactical points will need to be heeded as the Chancellor has made it clear in his judgment that parties who seek to use the disclosure pilot in an overtly adversarial manner can expect to be sanctioned in costs.
The judgment also directly raises the possibility that the decision of the Court of Appeal in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust  EWCA Civ 576;  1 WLR 3002, concerning the ability of the court to compel the parties to engage in mediation may need to be revisited in light of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Lomax v Lomax  EWCA Civ 1467 that the court had the power to order the parties to engage in early neutral evaluation pursuant to CPR r.3.1(2)(m)
The judgment can be accessed at https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2020/298.html
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