I have just received an email from my friend, neighbour and occasional client, David Swarbrick. David is now a consultant of Oldham law firm Wrigley Claydon but for many years he practised on his own account in Brighouse (a small town between Huddersfield and Bradford) in the biggest, and many would say the best, county of England. While on his own he developed the legendary Just Mooting website which in the early days attracted more hits than any except the Library of Congress. It certainly beat the Legal Services Commission site. David's latest initiative is lawindexpro which catalogues, digests and alerts to the latest free transcripts of decisions of the English superior courts of record.

David's email shows that he is now using the Summer vacation profitably by focussing on some of the older cases. One of those cases is Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd -v- West Bromwich Building Society Times, 24 June 1997; [1997] UKHL 28; [1998] 1 All ER 98; [1998] 1 WLR 896 which is our leading case on contract construction. Lord Hoffmann, who delivered the lead speech, also had things to say that cast some insight into how we construe patent claims. Indeed, he applied similar principles in Kirin-Amgen Inc. v Hoechst Narion Rousel Ltd which is now our leading case on claims. I count myself privileged to have been a pupil in Lord Hoffmann's chambers shortly after he had taken silk and I was even more privileged to have appeared against him and Nick (now Mr Justice) Patten in the Stoke on Trent County Court shortly after I was called to the Bar. Sadly, they won that one.


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