Three points spring to mind.

First, and at the risk of sounding like Cato the Elder – a most unpleasant person to sound like – who is going to meet the cost of providing the material? Hint: not the litigants and not the public purse. To be sure, if it’s just an electronic bundle and the solicitor of whom it is asked is CERTAIN that no redaction is required, the question may not arise: but in any other case the requester must pay, and pay up front on a scale laid down. If anyone disagrees I would like to know why.

Second, if high-profile work moves away from London to jurisdictions where courts are not treated as a source of cheap and sensational copy for the media – you read it here early if not quite first.

And third: I have on a number of occasions in my career – 43 years in articles and qualified – recommended arbitration precisely because it is private. There is nobody you can ask and who has to tell you where and when it is happening or indeed whether it is happening at all; you can’t ask anyone for the bundles; the results are not accessible. How long before the media ask for all that to change?

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I fear I agree with Celia Kitzinger. BUT: 1. I am exceedingly pleased that both Joshua and Nick Wallis have received such resounding and richly merited praise from such an exalted quarter. Whilst never having had the privilege of meeting Nick Wallis for quite some years I was regularly encountering Joshua when undertaking representative work for the Solicitors’ profession when focused on the Law Society’s “honest broker” work.Our regular encounters spoke volumes of his work rate- he was always there, always probing, always courteous and thoughtful.

2. Yet again is there a reference to more online hearings. Even if I am now virtually alone in counselling so anxiously against more or less all hearings being remote I feel compelled to warn of the -yes- unnatural and impersonal nature of more or less invariable second best hearings and communications. How to judge honesty, hesitant utterances, communication at an arm’s length through a second or third language anywhere near to as accurately and fairly as face to face? How inaccurate and dismissive it is to insist that second hand remoteness of exchanges is just the same as conventional! That mischief alone needs to stop.

3. I always beware of “missionary work” , that is, where professional groupings believe that THEY know what the poor, inadequate dears of civilians NEED without actually ASKING THEM because after all what do they know? There is in my view that serious bit of conceit that can so often creep in.

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Good stuff!

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My confidence in the likely success of this initiative would be greater if there were journalists and members of the public on the board. Also, the usual trope about journalists being the "eyes and ears of the public" is rolled out as if we don't have our own eyes and ears. In the Court of Protection, it's very rare to see a journalist in court - and very common for members of the public to attend hearings and blog about them. I do worry that this is more fine words about the importance of the open justice principle which are unlikely to result in practical change on the ground.

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