” Being invited to give the Keynote address to an organisation such as MASS because I happen to be Chair of the Costs Committee of the Civil Justice Council is a rather novel experience. I am more accustomed to being asked to give a lecture or perhaps make an after-dinner speech simply because I am me, rather than because I am Chair of something. When I perform that more accustomed role, the usual tactic is to start with a joke or some other light-hearted comment to establish some immediate rapport with the audience and engage their attention. It has been suggested to me that it would be hard to manufacture a laugh out of the work of the Costs Committee, so I think I will abandon any such endeavour. Perhaps it would have been inappropriate anyway because the work the Committee is engaged in at present is pretty important and rather serious.
It is the work of the Committee that I would like to speak about briefly this morning and I hope that what I will say will be of interest to the Society and to its many members.
I am conscious, however, that I am speaking today to solicitors engaged in the work of representing victims of road traffic accidents. If, as I hope may be the case, what I say this morning gains some wider dissemination, I should like to make it plain that I would be saying precisely the same things if I were addressing any other litigation practitioners’ society or organisation, whether it represented the victims of accidents or those on the receiving end of claims. Indeed I would be saying the same to any group of civil litigation practitioners even if not involved in accident-related litigation. My reason for saying that will, I think, become apparent shortly…”