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Solicitors warned about Skeleton Arguments

Recently, the rules regarding the submission of documents in court was reiterated to lawyers nationwide.

Lord Justice Hickinbottom, a Court of Appeal judge, gave a warning following from the judgment in Harverye v The Secretary of State for the Home Department that ‘harsh treatment’ shall be incurred if the court is burdened with ‘irrelevant and lengthy submissions’.

This is specifically in relation to Skeleton Arguments produced by lawyers, in which should have a more exact focus, so as to retain relevancy to the case at hand in court.

The requirements for Skeleton Arguments can be found in the Civil Procedure Rules as outlined by the UK Government, in which the court warns that if these rules are not complied by, then sanctions may be imposed upon the solicitors in question and the skeleton arguments returned.

From this, one of the alternative means of producing skeleton arguments, as suggested by the Judge, especially in appeal cases, is that the ‘grounds of appeal’, in relation why a decision made is ‘wrong or unjust’ must not be included within the grounds, but instead within the Skeleton argument itself.

By warning solicitors in this way, the Court of Appeal judge hopes that solicitors will provide a more “straightforward and narrow” approach to this issue at hand, rather than to misdirect the court in endless amounts of paperwork which can irrelevant to case completely.

However, the warning doesn’t only extend to solicitors, as within Harvery v Sectary of State for the Home Department, the judge argues that the secretary of state could have also been simpler in their approach, in which would have kept the argument altogether more streamlined and concise.

If you would like to discuss this article further or have any general legal enquiries, please contact one of our highly qualified solicitors on 020 3318 5794 or via email at londoninfo@hudsonmckenzie.com

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