Where no case management order has been made in proceedings, the proceedings shall, on being set down for trial, be listed by the Registrar before the List Judge, or such Judge as the List Judge with the approval of the President of the High Court may nominate, for a pre-trial conference.
Where a case management order has been made in proceedings, the Judge chairing the case management conference shall fix a date for a pre-trial conference once all orders made or directions given in the course of the case management conference have been complied with.
The List Judge may dispense with the requirement of a pre-trial conference in proceedings where satisfied that, because the significant issues in the proceedings are sufficiently clear and the proceedings are otherwise ready for trial, the proceedings do not require a pre-trial conference.
Each party shall, in consultation with their respective counsel, complete and lodge with the Registrar not later than four clear days before the date fixed for the pre-trial conference a pre-trial questionnaire, which shall be in the prescribed form, with such modifications as are necessary.
The pre-trial 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 pre-trial conference is adjourned, it shall be adjourned to a specific date.
Where a party intends to be represented at the trial by a solicitor then the leading solicitor whom it is intended shall so represent the party shall attend the pre-trial conference.Where a party intends to be represented at the trial by solicitor and counsel then the leading counsel whom it is intended shall represent the party shall attend the pre-trial conference.
At the pre-trial conference, the Judge chairing the same—
- shall establish what steps remain to be taken to prepare the case for trial, the likely length of the trial and the arrangements, if any, for witnesses, information and communications technology (including video conferencing) and any other arrangements which require to be made for the trial,
- where the parties intend to rely on expert evidence, may make an order under Order 39, rule 60, and
- may make any orders and give any directions in accordance with Order 36, rule 9(2) or with this Order in respect of arrangements for the trial as that Judge considers necessary.
Trial Material and Booklet
Save where dispensed with by the Judge chairing the pre-trial conference, the plaintiff, applicant or other party prosecuting the proceedings shall, in consultation with the other party or parties, prepare and lodge with the Registrar, not later than four clear days before the pre-trial conference, the following materials (referred to as the “trial materials”)
- a book of exhibits, appropriately numbered;
- concise written submissions of the parties on points or issues of law
- book of authorities, referred to in the written submissions; and
- a trial booklet.
The trail book shall contain indexed and in chronological sequence,
- a list of the persons alleged by the parties, or any of them, to have been principally involved in the matters or events the subject of the proceedings;
- the case summary contained in the case booklet, including a chronology of relevant events; ) copies of any pleadings, affidavits (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, documents or extracts therefrom in respect of which agreement has been reached between the parties under sub-rule (3), correspondence and any other documents intended to be relied upon at the trial; a booklet containing the expert reports on each side, and any reports of any single joint expert;where appropriate, a glossary of technical terms which are likely to be used in the course of the trial; any other documents or things directed by the Judge chairing the pre-trial conference to be so lodged;
Where necessary, the party responsible for lodging the trial materials with the Registrar shall, in consultation with the other parties, update any of the trial materials following their lodgment with the Registrar.
The Judge chairing the pre-trial conference may request the parties to consult with each other with a view to agreeing, where possible, upon a list of the documents and, as appropriate, any extracts from documents intended to be relied upon at the trial, in substitution for the above trial materials or any of them.
The trial materials shall be produced by the party responsible for preparing the same in such form, including electronic form, as the List Judge may direct and, where the List Judge so directs, shall be lodged or served by electronic means, and on such conditions and subject to such exceptions as the List Judge may prescribe.
Certificate of readiness for trial
A certificate of readiness for trial shall be issued:
- by the Judge chairing, or who has chaired, the pre-trial conference, or
- by the List Judge, where that Judge has dispensed with the requirement of a pre-trial conference
where the Judge concerned considers that the proceedings are ready to proceed to trial.
Where the Judge chairing a case management or pre-trial conference considers that the trial of the proceedings would be assisted by the appointment of an assessor, the Judge may make a recommendation to that effect, which shall be appended to the certificate of readiness for trial.
Where the Judge chairing a case management or pre-trial conference considers that, in the interests of justice, another Judge should be the trial judge for the proceedings, such determination shall be appended to the certificate of readiness for trial.
Upon the issue of a certificate of readiness for trial, the List Judge may, following consultation, if necessary, with the President of the High Court and with any other relevant Judge, fix a date or dates for the trial of the proceedings or of issues in the proceedings, whereupon the Registrar shall notify the parties in writing of the date or dates so fixed.
The Registrar shall deliver to the trial Judge copies of the trial materials, and a copy of the certificate of readiness for trial.
Updating & Trial Judge Requirements
The plaintiff, applicant or other party prosecuting the proceedings shall prepare and lodge any material updating the trial materials referred to in rule 13 with the Registrar, for delivery to the trial Judge, not less than fourteen days prior to the date fixed for the trial (or earlier if so directed by the List Judge).
Where the requirement of a pre-trial conference has been dispensed with, but a certificate of readiness has issued, the plaintiff, applicant or other party prosecuting the proceedings shall consult with the other parties for the purpose of attempting to agree the trial materials referred to in rule 13, and subject to any agreement made in that regard, shall thereafter proceed in accordance with rule 13, and shall lodge the trial materials with the Registrar, for delivery to the trial Judge, not less than fourteen days prior to the date fixed for the trial.
The trial Judge may, at any time following delivery to him of the trial materials , cause the matter to be listed before him for mention, for the purpose of making a direction, or for the purpose of making any other direction or resolving or clarifying any other matter which, in that Judge’s opinion, will facilitate the efficient conduct of the trial, and may, for that purpose, request the Registrar to communicate to the parties any matter which may require resolution or clarification.
The trial Judge may require the parties to prepare and deliver to the Registrar or produce in Court an agreed list of concise questions that are to be decided by the Court in order to determine the proceedings, or the decision by the Court on which will substantially facilitate the determination of the proceedings. Where the the list of questions ) is not agreed, each party shall furnish such a list.
Expert Witnesses I
A plaintiff, applicant or other party prosecuting the proceedings who intends to call an expert witness must give notice of that intention, or confirm that intention, on setting down a case for trial or (where the proceedings are subject to case management) on the fixing of a trial date for the proceedings.
Where a defendant, or other party, intends to call an expert witness, notice of that intention shall be given or confirmed within 30 days of the proceedings being set down for trial or (where the proceedings are subject to case management) a date being fixed for the trial of the proceedings. Such notice may be given by letter between the parties.
In any case in which orders have been made or directions given concerning expert evidence it shall be sufficient that each party produce a certificate in writing at the pre-trial conference that all such orders or directions have been complied with or, if a pre-trial conference has been dispensed with, such certificate shall be delivered to the Registrar within 30 days of the proceedings being set down for trial or (where the proceedings are subject to case management) a date being fixed for the trial of the proceedings.
Unless the List Judge otherwise orders, a party intending to rely upon the oral evidence of a witness as to fact or of an expert at trial shall, not later than 30 days prior to the date of such trial (if not previously done or required to be done), serve upon the other party or parties and file:
- in the case of a witness as to fact, a written statement, and
- in the case of an expert, a written report (in this rule referred to as an “expert report”),
consisting of a summary of the evidence to be given by that witness containing the essential elements of that evidence signed and dated by the witness or expert, as the case may be.
Expert Witnesses II
A supplemental written statement or, as the case may be, expert report, containing a summary of evidence to be given by a witness or expert additional to the evidence summarised in his written statement or expert report, and signed and dated by him, may be served by the party intending to rely upon the oral evidence of the witness or expert concerned within the time specified , and the above rules apply mutatis mutandis to such supplemental written statement or supplemental expert report.
A Judge may in exceptional circumstances and after hearing all of the parties, direct that the written statement or expert report , or any part of that written statement or expert report, shall be treated as evidence in chief of the witness concerned, but only after it has been verified on oath by such witness.
Where a direction is given, the witness concerned may, in giving his evidence in chief, be referred by counsel or, as the case may be, the solicitor, for the party adducing such evidence to the contents or, as the case may be, the part directed in accordance of the written statement or expert report concerned.
If during the course of the trial, on application by any party, it becomes apparent that any witness other than those notified is necessary, then with the leave of the trial Judge such witness may be called to give oral evidence, subject to such direction as to prior service of a written statement or, as the case may be, expert report, of a kind referred to in sub-rule (1) as the trial Judge shall make.
The costs of the hearing of any application for directions or orders i shall, unless the Judge before whom that hearing takes place otherwise orders, be deemed to be costs in the cause.
The appropriate List Judge may prescribe requirements as to the form and content of bills of costs to be prepared in respect of relevant proceedings which have been made the subject of a case management order.
The Court may limit the amount of a party’s expert fees and expenses that may be recovered from any other party.
Any costs occasioned by failure to comply with the provisions of any rule in this Order relating to the content of a form or by failure to comply with any directions contained in a form as to its completion shall be borne by or disallowed to the party using the same, unless the List Judge or, as the case may be, the trial Judge, shall otherwise direct.
Electronic Documents for Case Management
Documents required under or in accordance the case management provisions to be served, exchanged or inspected in proceedings (including any affidavit of discovery and copies of the documents (not including documents over which privilege is claimed) in any schedule thereto) may, where the President of the High Court by practice direction (which practice direction may extend to proceedings to which this Order applies) permits, and on such terms and conditions and subject to such exceptions as the President of the High Court may by such practice direction specify, be served or exchanged, as the case may be, electronically.
Documents required to be filed in proceedings may, where the President of the High Court by a practice direction permits, and on such terms and conditions and subject to such exceptions as the President of the High Court may by such practice direction specify, be filed electronically with the appropriate Registrar and stored by that Registrar in like manner.”