MARGARET THATCHER, BETAMAX VIDEOS, THE MACARENA AND CIVIL PROCEDURE (ECHOES OF COMPLAINTS FROM “DOWN UNDER”)

The judgment of Lord Justice Coulson in  Lejonvarn v Burgess & Anor [2020] EWCA Civ 114 commenting on a case “with echoes of the bad old days” shares some sentiments with the judgment of Lee J in the Federal Court of Australia in West v Rane [2019] FCA 2195.  It shows that some issues in litigation may be universal.  The judge in West was complaining about the failure to use the more streamlined procedure available in the Australian courts with the claimants using procedures that, essentially, reflected procedure in 1990.

 

LOOKING BACK TO THE YEAR 1990

“The world was different in 1990: the Soviet Union existed; Margaret Thatcher was entering her final days as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Sir Nigel Bowen was Chief Justice of this Court; mobile telephones resembled house bricks; there was still a rental market for Betamax videos; and the world had yet to be introduced to the Macarena. The approach of those advising the applicants in this related litigation has been redolent of these very different (and some would say halcyon) days. For reasons that surpass understanding, a very large number of individual proceedings have been commenced in circumstances where there are common issues between them, as if Pt IVA of the Federal Court of Australia Act (1976) (Cth) (Act) (which was designed to allow such cases to be advanced in a cost effective and efficient way), did not exist.”