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Posts from April 2021

Nightingale courts were first opened due to the back log of court cases caused by the pandemic. Delays occurred due to measures first put in place in the first lockdown when hearings were adjourned to a date further into the year. 
 
Methods such as using teams/BT meet me were introduced to try and reduce this backlog, but this did not make a significant impact due to the number of back logged cases. This is when the nightingale courts were introduced. Some were in venues such as football clubs, libraries and theatres. 
 
Now there have been talks to close 12 of those courts as early as June due to hire agreements expiring. On top of the expiring agreements there is also the issue of sites needing to go back to their original use due to the easement of lockdown rules. 
 
There have also been talks as to whether the nightingale courts are still needed. The Law Society and the Bar Council have both stated that instead of decreasing the number of nightingale courts more are actually needed, especially with the number of the back log cases currently standing at 57,000. 
 
The only thing we know as of now is that there is so much uncertainty surrounding these nightingale courts and only time will tell as to when they start to close or even increase in numbers. 
Plans for a new City of London court complex have been put on hold with objections from SAVE Britain’s heritage and other conservation groups. 
 
The proposed court complex would be on Fleet Street holding the City of London police headquarters, an eight-story court building and a third commercial building. 
 
For the court complex to be built buildings such as the Chronical House would need to be demolished. This is where the heritage and conservation groups object. 
 
There are a lot of pros to this new complex being built; 400 newly created jobs will be available on top of the 2,100 jobs already in motion, the complex has been designed in a way that it will last at least 125 years, it will help drive growth in the square mile to retain the City of London’s position as the global Centre for business, law, and justice. 
 
Of course, with pros there are also cons, the main one being the demolition of historical buildings in the Fleet Street area. 
Financial proceedings can be somewhat messy especially when parties actively try and hide assets in the hope the other party gets less of a settlement than they actually deserve. It can be even messier when parties involve family including their own children in the process of hiding said assets. 
 
This was certainly shown in the case of Akhmedov V Akhmedov and others, a £450m divorce case. 
 
Farkhad Akhmedov involved his son in the process of disposing assets to hinder his ex-wife’s claims, the son even admitted to Mrs Justice Knowles that “he had helped his father protect his assets from his mother’s claims”. Mrs Justice Knowles did not accept the sons case that he was a go between for his father and made it clear his actions were done with intent. 
 
This case has been a major subject for the media due to the nature of the family. Especially the judgement handed down, being that Farkhad was ordered to pay his ex-wife £453,576,152. 
 
Messy financial proceedings can cost parties hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of pounds more in legal fees and time. Sometimes messy proceedings cannot be prevented, but when parties are both amicable it does show in the outcome and costs. 
 
Hopefully this case will be a learning curve for those parties in a better position than the other wanting to try and hinder claims that may be rightfully deserved. 
The courts have recently reminded a litigant in person that there is no special treatment when unrepresented. Handing him an interim costs order to pay 60% of the claimant’s costs upfront, totalling £100,000. 
 
Judge Paul Matthews stated that “There are not two sets of rules for litigation in this jurisdiction, one for represented litigant and one for unrepresented” 
 
This outcome was a direct result of the conduct of the litigant in person, being ‘well out of the norm for a court case’. 
 
This topic may be one of controversy due to its nature with some professionals applauding the decision and some questioning it. 

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