Litigious or contentious matters

Our primary duty is to the court and we have a fundamental duty not to mislead the court. In the unlikely event of a conflict arising we may have to decline to act for you further. We are also obliged under the rules of professional conduct of the Guernsey Bar to decline to act for you further in the case of any matter which we in our own discretion to be consider vexatious, vindictive or untrue.

In certain civil court proceedings it is the duty of a litigant not only to tell the truth but also to give full and frank disclosure including evidence of allegations or defences of the opponent usually where the opponent is not in court. There is a duty to supply at the relevant time lists of documents (discovery) and permit inspection of documents that are relevant to any fact or matter in issue and which are in your custody, power or control. ("Documents" mean hard copy, electronic, micro-fiches, audio tapes, video tapes etc., including internal e-mails capable of being recovered and even if deleted or purged and include all communications). It is, therefore, essential not to dispose of or put beyond your custody, power or control any such documents that may need to be discovered and inspected and to provide us with all such documents in due time.

On winning your case the court may order the other party to the action to pay your taxed or assessed legal costs. These costs are typically 20-40% less than the true legal costs which you will incur and for which you will remain liable to us.

On losing your case, the court will usually award the legal costs against you and you will be liable for the other parties' legal and other costs in addition to your own.

Whatever the outcome the court has a discretion to award legal costs as it thinks fit and the winning party is not always assured of a full or favourable costs order. You may incur third party and other costs that you cannot recover in any event.

When proceedings are commenced they can only be withdrawn by consent or with leave of the court and the court may impose terms such as payment as to the costs of the other party.

The court generally expects the parties to pursue litigation expeditiously and to meet certain standards and requirements over which we cannot exercise cost control. The court will generally expect the parties to try to settle differences by agreement or by mediation and this can affect the award of costs.