General Case Management
The case management provisions were extended to most classes of High Court proceedings in 2016. They apply to any proceedings in the Chancery List or the Non-Jury List of the Court and any other proceedings which the President of the High Court has designated.
The 2016 rules do not apply to proceedings admitted to the Commercial List and Competition List which are already subject to case management provisions They do not apply to personal injuries actions and jury actions. Personal inject actions are subject to separate management and control provisions.
Power to Give Directions
A Judge may, at any time and from time to time, of that Judge’s own motion and having heard the parties, or on the application of a party by motion on notice to the other party or parties, give such directions and make such orders, including the fixing of time limits, for the conduct of proceedings, as appears convenient for the determination of the proceedings in a manner which is just, expeditious and likely to minimise the costs of those proceedings.
In particular, a Judge may of his own initiative and after hearing the parties, or on the application of a party by motion on notice to the other party or parties,make any of the following orders or give any of the following directions to facilitate the determination of the proceedings in the manner mentioned in that rule:
- as to whether the proceedings shall continue with pleadings and hearing on oral evidence, without formal pleadings and by means of a statement of issues of law or fact, or of both law and fact, without formal pleadings and to be heard on affidavit with oral evidence, or without formal pleadings and to be heard on affidavit without oral evidence;
- fixing any issues of fact or law to be determined in the proceedings;
- for the consolidation of the proceedings with another cause or matter pending in the High Court;
- for the defining of issues by the parties, or any of them, including the exchange between the parties of memoranda for the purpose of clarifying issues;
- allowing any party to alter or amend the party’s indorsement or pleadings, or allowing amendment of a statement of issues;
- requiring delivery of interrogatories, or discovery or inspection of documents;
- requiring the making of inquiries or taking of accounts;
- requiring the filing of lists of documents, either generally or with respect to specific matters;
- an order for separate modes or order of trial of facts
- an order in relation to the evidence of experts
- providing for the exchange of documents or information between the parties, or for the transmission by the parties to the Registrar of documents or information electronically, including the filing or delivery of an affidavit of discovery and copies of the documents (not including documents over which privilege is claimed) in any schedule thereto, on such terms and subject to such conditions and exceptions as a Judge may direct;
- for the examination upon oath before a Judge, Registrar or other officer of the Court, or any other person, and at any place, of any witness;
- on the application of any of the parties or of the Judge’s own motion, orders in relation to arbitration or mediation
- fix a timetable for the completion of pleadings, interlocutory applications and other pre-trial steps, and may for that purpose adopt any proposed timetable agreed by the parties or submitted by a party if satisfied that it is reasonable.
Power to Require Information
Without prejudice to any rule of law by virtue of which documents or evidence are privileged from disclosure, to assist him in deciding whether or not to make any order or give any direction, the Judge may direct the parties, or any of them in relevant proceedings, to provide information in respect of the proceedings, including:
- a list of the persons expected to give evidence;
- particulars of any matter of a technical or scientific nature which may be at issue or may be the subject of evidence;
- a reasoned estimate of the time likely to be spent in preparation of the proceedings for trial, the trial of the proceedings, and the examination or cross-examination (as the case may be) of each or any witness intended to be called by that party or by any other party;
- particulars of any arbitration arrangements or ADR process which may be available to the parties.
List Judge and Management Conference
A List Judge is the Judge for the time being assigned by the President of the High Court, in charge of the List for a category of proceedings. A List Judge may of his own motion and after hearing the parties in relevant proceedings, or on the application of a party by motion on notice to the other party or parties at any time prior to the trial of the proceedings, where satisfied that the proceedings should, by virtue of their complexity, the number of issues or parties, the volume of evidence, or for other special reason, be subject to case management, make a case management order.
Where a case management order has been made, the List Judge shall fix a date for a case management conference, and may give any further directions for the completion prior to such conference of such, if any, steps in the proceedings (including the preparation of a case booklet as the List Judge considers appropriate.
The case management conference shall be chaired and regulated by the List Judge or such Judge as the List Judge with the approval of the President of the High Court may nominate. Where the case management conference is adjourned, it shall be adjourned to a specific date.
Attendance at Conference
The case management conference shall be attended by the solicitor or counsel appearing for each of the parties or, where a party, not being a body corporate, does not have legal representation, by the party himself. Where the Judge chairing the case management conference considers it necessary or desirable, the Judge may direct that party, or, where the party is a body corporate, the proper officer of a party, attend the case management conference, notwithstanding the fact that the solicitor or counsel for that party will also attend the case management conference.
Each solicitor or counsel attending the case management conference shall ensure that he is sufficiently familiar with the proceedings, and has authority from the party that he represents to deal with any matters that are likely to be dealt with at the conference.
Where a party is represented by counsel, only the attendance of a single counsel at the case management conference will be allowed in the taxation or fixing of costs.
Purpose of Case Management Conference
The purpose of the case management conference shall be to ensure that the proceedings are prepared for trial in a manner which is just, expeditious and likely to minimise the costs of the proceedings, and in particular that, as soon as may be in advance of the trial:
- the issues, whether as to fact or law, are defined as clearly, as precisely and as concisely, as possible;
- all pleadings, affidavits and statements of issues are served;
- any applications by letter for particulars and replies thereto, any admissions, or requests for admissions, notices to admit documents or facts and replies thereto, and any affidavits made in pursuance of any notices to admit facts or documents, are served or delivered, as the case may be;
- all applications for relief of an interlocutory nature intended to be made by any of the parties are made;
- all written statements of witnesses and expert reports within the meaning of rule 17 have been or are served;
- any directions given or orders made in accordance with rule 4, or in the course of a case management conference have been complied with.
The plaintiff, applicant or other party prosecuting the proceedings shall, in consultation with the other party or parties, prepare a case booklet to be lodged with the Registrar and served on the other party or parties not later than four clear days prior to the first date fixed for the case management conference.
The case booklet shall contain a case summary, comprising an agreed outline of the case and a chronology of relevant events, a list of the issues; an agreed statement of those issues that are in dispute, and pre-trial documentation in chronological sequence. This is to include (where appropriate) copies of pleadings exchanged, affidavits filed (other than affidavits of service, or affidavits in support of or replying to any application for admission to a particular list or for case management), statements of issues, orders made or directions given, and, if the Judge so directs, any correspondence between the parties, not being expressed to be “without prejudice”, relating to the preparation of the case for trial.
The case booklet shall be produced and maintained by the party responsible for preparing the same in such form, including electronic form as the appropriate List Judge may direct and, where that Judge so directs, shall be lodged or served by electronic means, and on such conditions and subject to such exceptions as that Judge may prescribe. The party responsible for preparing the case booklet shall, in consultation with the other party or parties, revise or add to its contents from time to time as necessary.
Orders at Conference
At the case management conference the Judge chairing the case management conference may
- fix a timetable for the completion of preparation of the case for trial, and may for that purpose adopt any proposed timetable agreed by the parties if satisfied that it is timely, expeditious and reasonable;
- make any orders or give any directions which may be made or given in accordance with Order 36, rule 9(2), or rule 5 of this Order;
- if that Judge considers that there may be undue delay in, or that there may be cause for concern with, the conduct of the proceedings, and without prejudice to any powers conferred on a Judge by Order 33, rule 11, require the party appearing to be responsible therefor, or the proper officer of or solicitor or counsel instructed in the proceedings by that party, to attend before him to explain the course of the proceedings, and may thereupon make or give such ruling or direction as the Judge may consider appropriate for the purposes of ensuring that appropriate attention is given to the significant issues in the proceedings or for expediting the proceedings or the conduct thereof;
- without prejudice to any powers conferred on a Judge by Order 99, rule 37(13), disallow the costs of any indorsement of claim, pleading, statement of issues or other document in the proceedings which is insufficiently precise or, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, contains unnecessary matter, or is of unnecessary length, and award against that party the costs thereby occasioned to any other party;
- without prejudice to any powers conferred on a Judge by Order 33, rule 11 and Order 99, rule 37(13), disallow the costs of any party occasioned by a delay or default by that party in complying with a time limit for doing any act or taking any proceeding, and award against that party the costs thereby occasioned to any other party.
Case management of proceedings shall be concluded, on the occurrence of any of the following events:
- the issue of a certificate of readiness for trial;
- the making of a final order in, or the discontinuance or conclusion otherwise (including by settlement) of the proceedings before the issue of a certificate of readiness for trial;
- the making of an order by the List Judge determining that it is no longer consistent with the objective of the rules that the proceedings should remain subject to case management.