Where the Judge directs that the proceedings are to be subject to case management, he shall fix a day for a case management conference. He may give further directions for the completion, prior to the conference of such steps in the proceedings, including the preparation of a case booklet, as he considers appropriate.
Where there has been no direction that the proceedings are to be subject to case management, either party may, at any time before the trial, apply to the Judge of the Commercial List by motion on notice to the other party or parties, for a direction that a case management conference be held. The affidavit shall set out the grounds on which the case management conference is sought. An affidavit may be filed objecting in reply.
Case Management Procedure
The case management conference is chaired and regulated by a Judge. Where it is adjourned, it is adjourned to a specific date. It shall be attended by the solicitors appearing for each of the parties. Where a party who is in the company is not represented by a solicitor, it shall be attended by the party himself.
Where the Judge chairing the conference considers it necessary or desirable, he may direct that a party or in the case of a company, a proper officer of it, attend the case management conference, notwithstanding the fact that the party is represented by a solicitor.
Each solicitor attending the case management conference must ensure that he is sufficiently familiar with the proceedings and has authority from the party whom he represents to deal with any matters that are likely to arise at the conference.
Where the party is represented by counsel, a counsel may attend. However, attendance of only one of such counsel will be allowed in the taxation or fixing of costs.
The purpose of the case management conference is 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. In particular, the objective is that as soon as may be in advance of the trial
- that the issues, whether of law or fact are defined as clearly, precisely and as concisely, as possible;
- that all pleadings, affidavits and statements of issues are served;
- that any applications by letter for particulars or replies, any admissions or requests for admissions, notice to admit documents, facts and replies and any affidavits made in pursuance of any notices to admit facts or documents, are served and delivered, as the case may be;
- that all applications for relief of an interlocutory nature intended to be made, are made;
- that any directions given or orders made at the initial directions hearing or in the course of a case management conference have been complied with.
The plaintiff, applicant and other parties prosecuting the proceedings shall, in consultation with the other 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 for the case management conference.
It shall contain a case summary
- comprising an agreed outline of the case and sequence of relevant events not in dispute;
- a list of those issues which are not in dispute;
- an agreed statement of those issues that are in dispute.
It shall also contain pre-trial documentation in chronological sequence, including in particular where appropriate, copies of pleadings exchanged, affidavits filed other than affidavits of service, statements of issues, orders made or directions given, and any correspondence between the parties, not 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 an electronic form, as the Judge of the Commercial List may direct. Where the Judge so directs, it shall be lodged and served by electronic means on such conditions and subject to such exceptions as may be prescribed. The party responsible for preparing the case booklet shall, in consultation with the other parties, revise or add to its contents from time to time as may be necessary.
Timetable and Delay
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 reasonable. He make any other directions or orders that it may make above;
If the Judge considers that there is undue delay or he is dissatisfied with the conduct of proceedings, he may require the party appearing to be responsible for it, or the proper officer of or a solicitor instructed in the proceedings, to attend to explain the delay or other conduct with which he is dissatisfied. He may thereupon give such rulings or direction as he may consider for the purposes of expediting the proceedings or its conduct.
Without prejudice to the general powers as to costs, he may disallow the costs of any indorsement of claim, pleading statement or other document in the proceedings which contains unnecessary matters, is of unnecessary length and award against that party, the costs thereby occasioned to any other party.
Without prejudice to any powers conferred by the Judge generally, he may disallow costs occasioned by a delay or default by that party in complying with the time limits for doing any act or taking any proceeding and award against that party, the costs occasioned to the other party.
The Registrar may refer proceedings listed in the Commercial List of the Judge if he considers there has been undue delay.
Where no direction has been given that the proceedings are to be subject to case management, then once the exchange of pleadings, affidavits and statements of issues has been completed, any of the parties may apply to the Registrar for the fixing of a date for a pre-trial conference.
Where a direction has been given that the proceedings are to be subject to case management, 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.
Each party shall, in consultation with their respective counsel, complete and lodge with the Registrar not less than four days before the pre-trial conference, a completed pre-trial questionnaire in a prescribed form.
The pre-trial conference shall be chaired and regulated by a Judge. Where it is adjourned, it may 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 the party intends to be represented by a solicitor and counsel, then the leading counsel shall also attend.
At the pre-trial conference, the Judge who chairs it, shall establish
- what steps remain to be taken in order 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 other arrangements which are required for the trial.
The Judge may make any orders and give any directions in respect of arrangements for the trial as he considers necessary.
Trial Booklet & Case Summary
When the Judge chairing the pre-trial conference is satisfied that the proceedings are ready to proceed to trial, he shall fix a trial date. Unless the Judge chairing the pre-trial conference otherwise directs, the plaintiff, applicant and other prosecuting party shall, in consultation with the other parties, prepare and lodge with the Registrar, at least four clear days prior to the date fixed for the trial
- a trial booklet, indexed and in chronological sequence and containing copies of any pleadings, affidavits, statements of issues, documents or extracts from them in respect of which agreement has been reached between the parties the statements provided for below and correspondence or other documents intended to be relied on at trial;
- a case summary, comprising an agreed outline of the case and sequence of relevant events not in dispute;a list of those issues which are not in dispute; a list of persons principally involved in the matters and events the subject of the proceedings; where appropriate, a glossary of technical terms that is likely to be used in the course of the trial.
The Judge chairing the pre-trial conference shall request the parties to consult with each other with a view to agreeing, where possible, upon a list of documents and as appropriate, any extracts from the documents intended to be relied on at trial. In the event of an agreement being reached between the parties, the plaintiff or another party shall, in consultation with the other parties, prepare and lodge with the Registrar, not less than four clear days prior to the date fixed for trial,a trial booklet indexed and in chronological sequence, containing copies of such documents or extracts and where appropriate, indicating, by means of tags, colour highlighting or otherwise as the Judge of the Commercial List or the Registrar may direct, any relevant extracts therefrom intended to be relied upon at trial.
If the parties are unable to reach agreement on the above issues, they shall notify the Registrar and unless the Judge chairing the pre-trial conference otherwise directs, the plaintiff, applicant or other party prosecuting the proceedings shall proceed in accordance with the above rule as if no request had been made by the Judge above.
The trial booklet shall be produced by the party responsible for preparing the same in such form, including electronic form, as the Judge of the Commercial List may direct. Where the Judge of the Commercial List so directs, they shall be lodged or served by electronic means and on such conditions as he may prescribe.
Unless the Judge otherwise orders, a party intending to rely on oral evidence of a witness as to facts or of an expert at trial shall, not later than one month prior to the trial in the case of the plaintiff and not later than seven days prior to the date in the case of the defendant, respondent or other party defending the proceedings, serve upon the other, a written statement outlining the essential elements of the evidence signed and dated by the witness or expert, as the case may be.
The Judge may, in exceptional circumstances which are to be set forth in the order and after hearing all the parties, make an order directing that the written statement shall be treated as the evidence in chief of the witness or expert concerned, but only after it has been verified on oath by such witness or expert.
The Judge may allow a witness to give evidence, whether from within or outside the State, through a live video link or by other means. The Evidence shall be recorded by video or otherwise as the Judge directs.