SPLIT TRIALS – does proportionality rule supreme?
The case management of proceedings in the High Court is governed at all times by the overriding objective which is to enable the Court to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost.
In appropriate circumstances, this will involve directing that a trial on issues of liability only should take place first with a trial on quantum proceeding later on, only if the claimant is successful first time around in whole or in part.
It is usually argued that split trials save costs and court time; often expensive expert evidence needed for the quantum element of the proceedings can be avoided and fewer days out of the court diary need to be allocated. This can also result in an earlier slot for the trial being fixed. However, in a recent case[i] His Honour Judge Seymour ruled against a split trial despite the claimant's assertion that costs of around £1 million of expert evidence might be saved by this course of action. For the full case commentary please click here.
[i] Robert Graham Loughridge v The Financial Times Ltd v Internet Broadcasting Corporation Ltd  EWCH 4415 (QB) in which RPC acting for the defendant