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Yell Ltd v Garton, Court of Appeal, 2 February 2004

10 February 2004
The issues

Appeals – settlement – notification of Court – professional obligations.

The facts

The Claimant had appealed from the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The matter was listed before the Court of Appeal for 2 days to begin on a Monday. At 4.00 pm on the Friday, an offer had been put to the Claimant and by 6.00 pm Counsel had been told that the matter had been compromised and that the Appeal could be withdrawn. Counsel’s Clerks were told, but took the view that it was too late to tell the Court who would have to be told at 9.00 am on Monday.

The decision

1. There was a professional obligation on those advising the parties to litigation, to notify the Court if there was a chance that judicial time would be wasted in preparing for an Appeal, but was the subject of negotiations, which might lead to settlement.

2. The Civil Appeals Office should have been notified that there were negotiations carrying on whilst it was open. Even at 6.00 pm it would have been possible to have contacted the switchboard at the Royal Courts of Justice (which was 24 hour) to telephone the Clerk to the Senior Presiding Judge or even the Judges themselves who were reading in for the case.

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