Neil Andrews is, for my money, the most underrated writer on Civil Procedure in England and Wales. If you want to understand the big picture of litigation and why the system functions as it does then he is absolutely the man to read. His books are intensely practical and, just sometimes, unexpectedly funny- I smiled when I learned that relief from sanctions had to do with ‘procedural clemency.’

I want to write here about ‘Andrews on Civil Processes’. This book was published in 2013 but takes account of the Jackson Reforms at an early stage. Volume 1 cover civil litigation and volume 2 covers arbitration.

Andrews has written three books on civil litigation charting its course through an era of substantial change. His particular strengths as a writer are conciseness, immaculate organisation and a principled approach to litigation.

I cannot think of any litigator who would not benefit from reading Chapter 25: the Five Constellations of Civil Procedure. Wiser heads will nod with agreement, would-be litigators will gain a philosophical basis for understanding why the rules operate in the way that they do.

Andrews Groups his ideas as follows:

Group 1

Principle 1: Right of Consultation and Representation

Principle 2: Access to Court and to Justice

Principle 3: Protection against Bad or Spurious Claims or Defences

Group 2

Principle 4: Judicial Independence

Principle 5: Judicial Impartiality

Principle 6: Publicity or Open Justice

Principle 7: An efficient Process

Group 3

Principle 8: Judicial Control of the Process

Principle 9: Avoidance of Undue Delay

Group 4

Principle 10: The Principle of Due Notice

Principle 11: Procedural Equality

Principle 12: Equal Access to Information and Mutual Disclosure

Principle 13: Fair Play Between the Parties

Principle 14: Accuracy of Decision-Making

Group 5

Principle 15: Finality

Principle 16: Effectiveness

If you can get a handle upon these principles then Woolf’s dream makes a great deal more sense. You couldn’t cite Andrews’ principles but they deserve careful consideration, not least as a useful way of organising your knowledge.

This book is not cheap, far from it. That, almost certainly, means that most litigators will not buy this book – which is fair enough. But, in my view, the publisher Intersentia has missed a trick here. It should publish chapter 25 in paperback at an affordable price. If it would do so I can’t help thinking that this might give Andrews’ ideas the circulation that they deserve and sell a shed-load of books in the process.

I hope to write more about Andrews in due course.