CASE MANAGEMENT, “RELEVANCE” AND ATTEMPTS TO HOLD THE COURT “IN TERROREM”: MORE ON THE POST OFFICE CASE (SOME EXTRAORDINARY ISSUES HERE)
I am returning to the judgment in Bates & Ors v Post Office Ltd (No 3)  EWHC 606 (QB) because parts of the judgment set out arguments and conduct of litigation that is, to say the least, unusual. This part of the judgment relates to case management and the litigation strategy and arguments employed by the parties.
“a party (here the Post Office) threatening dire consequences to national business should their case not be preferred is not helpful, and this seemed to me to be an attempt to put the court in terrorem.”
“The Post Office seemed to adopt an extraordinarily narrow approach to relevance, generally along the lines that any evidence that is unfavourable to the Post Office is not relevant.”
“The Post Office was also anxious to avoid any adverse comment by me in any respect in this judgment. I was asked to “be careful”, and to be aware of “the sensitivity”, in terms of comments or findings that the Post Office said were “not necessary””
A number of post-masters and former Post-Office employees are bringing an action relating to (it is said) defects in Post Office systems leading to the creation of artificial shortfalls for which the claimants were responsible. There is a Group Litigation Order and the court was hearing a number of test cases on certain preliminary issues.