Insolvency Express Trials pilot scheme—interview with Chief Registrar Baister

Insolvency Express Trials pilot scheme—interview with Chief Registrar Baister

On 1 April 2016, litigants involved in some insolvency applications will be able to take advantage of a new court pilot scheme. Intended to provide litigants with a streamlined procedure and an early date for trial or disposal of simple applications, the pilot scheme—known as Insolvency Express Trials (IET)—will only be available to applications brought in the Bankruptcy and Companies Court of the High Court before the Bankruptcy Registrars.

Original news

The 83rd update to the Civil Procedure Rules (see LexisPSL Dispute Resolution blog post: CPR changes—February and April 2016) includes a new Practice Direction 51P (made under CPR 51.2), which sets out the procedure underlying the IET pilot scheme. Commencing on 1 April 2016, the pilot scheme will operate for two years, and will be evaluated after 12 months, and then every six months. Prior to the expiry of the pilot scheme its success will be assessed, and the Chancellor of the High Court will then determine if it should be continued and made permanent.

We spoke to Chief Registrar Baister to find out more about the background to the IET pilot scheme, and his thoughts and expectations on how it will operate.

What led to the introduction of the IET pilot scheme?

Two main ideas lay behind the decision to experiment with an express trial procedure:

  • the first was the generally perceived need for faster and cheaper trials, a topic which has been under active discussion in the Chancery Division for the last couple of years—indeed longer than that
  • the second was to relieve the parties and the court of the burden of costs management which it seemed to the Registrars could be avoided if costs could be kept to a reasonable sum (although views will vary as to whether £75,000 can be said to be reasonable—personally I think even that figure is too high). The Registrars also took

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About the author:

Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and joined the Restructuring and Insolvency team at Lexis®PSL in September 2014 from Shoosmiths LLP, where he was a senior associate in the restructuring and insolvency team.

Primarily focused on contentious and advisory corporate and personal insolvency work, Stephen’s experience includes acting for office-holders on a wide range of issues, including appointments, investigations and the recovery and realisation of assets (including antecedent transaction claims), and for creditors in respect of the impact on them of the insolvency of debtors and counterparties.