Lord Hope of Craighead opens new Digby Brown Glasgow Office in September 2011

Glasgow skyline

Tuesday 6th September saw the official opening of Digby Brown’s new office at 2 West Regent Street.  The firm was honoured when Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lord Hope of Craighead KT accepted their invitation to officially unveil a plaque and open the new office. Over 100 guests attended the champagne reception, to hear Fraser Oliver of Digby Brown welcome the guest of honour and then listen with interest to the words of Lord Hope.

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Lord Hope and Fraser Oliver unveil the plaque

Fraser Oliver, Partner and Executive Board Member said:  “The culmination of over a year in the planning, this move to the new premises on 2 West Regent Street is built on the foundations of our recent business growth and is central to the future plans of the firm.  We were thrilled and honoured when Lord Hope kindly agreed to unveil our plaque marking the official opening. His presence befitted the importance to Digby Brown of the occasion and helped mark a significant milestone in the firm’s long history.” 

Lord Hope spoke kindly of Digby Brown’s new office giving credit for the firm’s initiative and willingness to invest for the future of each and everyone of those who work in Glasgow and in the firm’s other offices: “a marvellous vote of confidence in its future”, he said.

He spoke of his friend and colleague the late Lord Rodger and his view of mediation: “There are some who say that disputes in these areas of the law should not come to court at all – that mediation is the answer.  For them the courts should be seen, at best, as a last resort.  Their arguments were regarded with more than a hint of suspicion by my friend and colleague the late Lord Rodger.  He thought they were mistaken, and I agree.  Mediation has its place, but so too has litigation.  It has a value which tends to be overlooked but ought not to be.”

He went on to say, that our courts and tribunals do indeed provide the best vehicle for obtaining justice: “they avoid the risk of under-settlement which is always present in a negotiation that takes place without the backing of the court process.  I read in a newspaper today of a complaint by the Association of British Insurers about no win no fee arrangements, in which it was said that insurers are committed to paying which it referred to as “ genuine claimants” as quickly as possible.  No doubt that is true.  But every day experience tells us that there are two ways of looking at every claim.  The insurers’ view of what is genuine and what is reasonable is inevitably a view that is one-sided.  As often as not it will have to be challenged by the threat of court proceedings if a fair settlement is to be reached.”

“Litigation provides a very real and important service, when a case has to go to court in explaining, developing and clarifying the law and the impact this has.” As well as speaking of his own early experiences working in the field of litigation and dealing cases brought against the National Coal Board and how those cases were financed by the trade union. He said: “Of course, litigation is expensive for defenders as well as for pursuers.  But there is certainly a place for measures to enable people who could not otherwise afford to go to court themselves to obtain justice.  In the past, when I entered practice some decades ago, a high proportion of personal injury cases were financed by the Trade Unions.”

The evening culminated in Lord Hope unveiling a plaque which will proudly hang in Digby Brown’s new reception area at 2 West Regent Street, Glasgow.