Rely on the most comprehensive, up-to-date legal content designed and curated by lawyers for lawyers
Work faster and smarter to improve your drafting productivity without increasing risk
Accelerate the creation and use of high quality and trusted legal documents and forms
Streamline how you manage your legal business with proven tools and processes
Manage risk and compliance in your organisation to reduce your risk profile
Stay up to date and informed with insights from our trusted experts, news and information sources
Access the best content in the industry, effortlessly — confident that your news is trustworthy and up to date.
Find up-to-date guidance on points of law and then easily pull up sources to support your advice with Lexis PSL
Check out our straightforward definitions of common legal terms.
Our trusted tax intelligence solutions, highly-regarded exam training and education materials help guide and tutor Tax professionals
Access our unrivalled global news content, business information and analytics solutions
Insurance, risk and compliance intelligence using big data, proprietary linking and advanced analytics.
A leading provider of software platforms for professional services firms
In-depth analysis, commentary and practical information to help you protect your business
LexisNexis Blogs shed light on topics affecting the legal profession and the issues you're facing
Legal professionals trust us to help navigate change. Find out how we help ensure they exceed expectations
Lex Chat is a LexisNexis current affairs podcast sharing insights on topics for the legal profession
Discuss the latest legal developments, ask questions, and share best practice with other LexisPSL subscribers
In a remarkable judgment handed down on 25 November 2014, the Court of Appeal upheld an appeal against a contempt of court decision of Mrs Justice Rose due to a number of admitted procedural irregularities, which amounted to breaches of the defendant’s ECHR article 6 right to a fair trial.
Having upheld the contempt appeal, Lord Justice Jackson, giving the court’s leading judgment, was highly critical of the appellant’s skeleton argument, describing it as 35 pages of ‘rambling prolixity’, and issued a stark reminder to litigants and their lawyers regarding the proper approach to preparing these documents.
In brief summary, the claimants had applied to commit the first defendant to prison for contempt of court for breaches of a court order that included prohibitions against competing against the first claimant’s business. The committal application was heard at the same time as the trial of the main action and the defendant was un-represented. Mrs Justice Rose rejected the allegations of contempt advanced by the claimants, but found two other contempts proved on the basis of evidence given by the defendant during the hearing. The defendant was subsequently sentenced to a term of imprisonment. On appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the judge’s decision on contempt could not stand where the defendant had not been informed, prior to judgment, of the allegations of contempt that had been found proved, he had not been told of his right not to give evidence, nor had he known of his entitlement to legal aid.
Accordingly, the judge’s findings of contempt were quashed.
The message from the Court of Appeal is crystal clear: skeleton arguments must be prepared in accordance with CPR PD 52A para 5, CPR PD 52C, paras 31 and 32 as reinforced by guidance provided by the court. Failure to do so will have an impact on a successful party’s ability to recover its costs of preparing the skeleton (a sanction applied in this case) and may result in a very public dressing down for the responsible drafter.
Jackson LJ felt compelled to comment ‘more bluntly’ on the poor quality and excessive length of some skeleton arguments as ‘[m]ild rebukes to counsel and gentle comments in judgments have no effect whatsoever’. It is important that practitioners pay heed to Jackson LJ’s comments and comply with the relevant provisions of the CPR on skeleton arguments.
The following essential points for the preparation of an appellant’s skeleton were identified by Jackson LJ in a per curiam conclusion to his judgment:
Jackson LJ stated that the task of drafting a skeleton ‘not rocket science’; it just requires a few minutes clear thought and planning before starting.
He commented that the provisions of the CPR set out above exist for the benefit of litigants (not for judges or lawyers) to (a) ensure that their contentions are presented most effectively to the court and (b) to enable the court to deal with its caseload expeditiously.
A full report on the decision, including its committal aspects, is available to Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution subscribers at Inplayer Ltd (formerly Invideous Ltd) and others v Thorogood  EWCA Civ 1511;  All ER (D) 256. Click here for a free trial.
Free trials are only available to individuals based in the UK
* denotes a required field
Barry specialises in international arbitration and commercial litigation. He trained and practised at Jones Day before joining Pinsent Masons. At LexisNexis, Barry is Head of Arbitration and Head of the Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution Group.
In practice, Barry’s work included commercial, aviation and technology arbitrations pursuant to international arbitral rules, involving UK and international clients. He also has a background in general commercial, civil fraud and IT litigation, including experience before the High Court. While in private practice, Barry worked with a broad range of clients from the private and public sectors.
At LexisNexis, when not focused on the strategic development and operational requirements of the Dispute Resolution Group, Barry’s content work focuses on the law and practice of international commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration. In addition to his work for Lexis®PSL, Barry contributes to the LexisNexis Dispute Resolution Blog and New Law Journal on litigation and arbitration matters
0330 161 1234