REVIEW OF 2021 (1): OPENING LINES OF JUDGMENTS: COSTS, BRASS, MUCK, UNHAPPY FAMILIES AND … ARCHANGELS
The review of opening lines of judgments has become an annual event. Here we look at some of the most interesting opening lines of judgments from cases this year. They cover a wide range of topics and courts. This particular blog post comes with a warning for the sensitive, it does contain rude words.
LOOK AWAY NOW: LITIGATION ENDS UP BEING ABOUT COSTS
“For those who believe that most civil litigation does not end up being about the costs that were incurred in pursuing that same litigation in the first place, look away now.”
Lord Justice Coulson.
WHERE THERE’S MUCH THERE’S BRASS
“The old saying “Where there’s muck, there’s brass” certainly holds true for all the parties to these two appeals concerning the application of landfill tax: for the Respondents because their business is the operation of landfill sites, charging customers for taking their unwanted material off their hands and for the Appellants, HMRC, because they collect landfill tax on every tonne of taxable waste disposed of at those sites.”
Her Majesty’s Customs And Excise v Devon Waste Management Ltd & Ors  EWCA Civ 584
LAWYERS MAKE MATTERS UNNECESSARILY COMPLICATED
Lawyers sometimes make matters unnecessarily complicated.
The Complaint in this action exceeds 600 paragraphs and 90 pages.
The briefing on the pending motions to dismiss, which required the
analysis of no evidence and should have been restricted to the
four corners of the complaint, consumed over 200 pages. Yet the
theory of the case that will necessarily be whittled down to its
essentials if and when it is presented to a lay jury is relatively simple.
REFRESCO BEVERAGES US INC.,
CALIFORMULATIONS, LLC, SYMRISE
INC., THE GREEN ORGANIC
DUTCHMAN HOLDINGS LTD., 6003
HOLDINGS LLC, EDMUND O’KEEFFE,
TYRONE POLHAMUS, KHANH LY,
JASON PONTES, DANA KLAYBOR,
WANDA JACKSON, and KALEENA GEE
ARCHANGELS IN COURT
“This is a dispute between two spiritual and holistic therapists over use of the trade mark ‘ARCHANGEL ALCHEMY’ to sell metaphysical/spiritual education and coaching courses which aim to connect participants with archangels.”
Stone v Wenman  EWHC 2546 (IPEC) HHJ Melissa Clarke
RUDE WORDS DOTH NOT A TEACHER MAKE
Thomas v The Education Workforce Council  EWHC 2774 (Admin)
“Go fuck your self “. “😉
The Appellant appeals against the Respondent’s decision that this amounted to unacceptable professional conduct, meriting a reprimand
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT IN SHORT SUPPLY
“Appropriately for the time of year, this dispute concerns the financing, completion and delivery of an animated Christmas film entitled ‘Elliot: the Littlest Reindeer‘ (the ‘Film’). Unfortunately, any Christmas Spirit between the parties is, however, in short supply.”
Active Media Services Inc v Burmester, Duncker & Joly GmbH & Co Kg & Ors  EWHC 232 (Comm)
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING FOR LAWYERS (OR NOT)
“This is my extemporary judgment in case numbers BL-2019-MAN-000134 and E30MA305. Over the last weekend Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General described (in terms for which he later apologised) the coronavirus pandemic as a “gift that keeps on giving for lawyers”. The fact that this is the first of two cases in my list for this week that arise out of the concealment of the ultimate beneficial ownership of corporate property investment vehicles rather suggests that they can more properly be considered as the gift that keeps on giving for lawyers.”
Asertis Ltd v Clarkson & Ors  EWHC 1053 (Ch) HHJ Hodge QC.
All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. With apologies to Tolstoy, the Akhmedov family is one of the unhappiest ever to have appeared in my courtroom. Though this case concerns wealth of which most can only dream, it is – at its core – a straightforward case in which, following their divorce, a wife seeks to recover that which is owed to her from a husband and his proxies who, it is alleged, have done all they can to put monies beyond her reach.
Mrs Justice Knowles Akhmedova v Akhmedov & Ors (Rev 1)  EWHC 545 (Fam)