29 May--consultation for shorter and earlier trials procedure in Rolls Building

29 May--consultation for shorter and earlier trials procedure in Rolls Building

magnifyThe private secretary and legal adviser to the Chancellor of the High Court is currently accepting responses to the consultation on the shorter and flexible trials pilot schemes for cases in the Rolls Building (namely the TCC, Chancery Division and the Commercial Court in London).

The aim of the proposals is to achieve

'speedy but fair justice at a reasonable and proportionate cost. They should also help to foster a change in litigation culture which involves the recognition that comprehensive disclosure and a full, oral trial on all issues is often not necessary for justice to be achieved. That recognition will in turn lead to significant savings in the time and costs of litigation.'

The consultation period ends on 29 May 2015.


The proposed pilot schemes are for claims proceeding in the Rolls Building, namely the:

  • Chancery Division (including the Patents Court and the Companies Court) in London
  • Commercial Court in London
  • the Technology and Construction Court (TCC) in London

Shorter trial procedure

This proposed pilot scheme would be for:

  • 'commercial and business cases'

Note: the draft Practice Direction lists the sorts of cases for which the scheme would not generally be suitable

  • cases with a four day maximum trial length
  • cases which can be fairly tried on the basis of limited disclosure and oral evidence

It would involve a 'streamlined procedure' leading to judgment within a year of proceedings being issued, thereby offering commercial parties 'dispute resolution on a commercial timescale'.

It is proposed the streamlined procedure largely be achieved through:

  • amending the parties' pre-action conduct
  • disapplying CPR 3.12 (whereby parties are required to file and exchange costs budgets)
  • limiting the length of the Particulars of Claim and Defence and Counterclaim
  • expediting the parties' provision of their core documents
  • docketing
  • setting out alternative disclosure provisions (such that CPR 31.5(2)--namely provisions relating to, among other things, the parties filing and serving a Disclosure Report (and budget), seeking to agree a disclosure proposal that meets the overriding objective, etc--does not apply)
  • discouraging applications for specific disclosure and/or for further information
  • modifying the way in which interim applications are to be made
  • limiting oral factual and expert witness evidence

Flexible trials procedure

This pilot scheme allows the parties, by agreement, to adapt court procedures, mainly in relation to evidence, 'to suit their case and encourages the use of a more simplified and expedited procedure than the full trial procedure currently provided for'. This is to be done through limiting:

  • disclosure
  • oral factual witness evidence
  • oral expert evidence
  • oral submissions at trial

Further information can be found in the links. Responses to the Consultation Document should be sent to Vannina Ettori by 29 May 2015.

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About the author:

Virginia specialises in general domestic and international commercial litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.

Virginia trained, qualified and practiced with Pinsent Masons before moving to Marriott Harrison where she continued in practice for a further seven years.

In practice, Virginia acted in a variety of general commercial disputes covering areas including  intellectual property, fraud, defamation, misrepresentation, breach of contract, debt recovery, breach of restrictive covenants and company and shareholders’ disputes.

Virginia is Head of Dispute Resolution at Lexis®PSL and, when not focused on the strategic development and operational requirements of the Dispute Resolution module, her content work focuses on case management and evidence in civil litigation. She also regularly contributes to the LexisNexis Dispute Resolution Blog.