Allocation to the Multi-track
The multi-track is intended for more complex and important cases. Any case not allocated to either the small claims track or fast track will be dealt with on the muti-track, and so will any case commenced using the alternative procedure in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, Part 8 and most specialist proceedings. The courts are expected to adopt a flexible approach to ensure that each case is dealt with in an appropriate way.
If the parties in a case likely to be allocated to the multi-track agree proposals for the management of the case and the court considers that the proposals are suitable, the court may simply approve them without the need for a directions hearing.
Case management conference
Normally the court has discretion whether to call a case management conference. However, where it is contemplated that an order may be made either for the evidence on a particular issue to be given by a single expert, or that an assessor should be appointed, a case management conference must be held unless the parties have consented to the order in writing.
Attendance at case management conferences
If a party has a legal representative, someone familiar with the case must attend the case management conference. The person attending will have to be the fee-earner concerned, or someone who is fully familiar with the file, the issues and the proposed evidence. Where the inadequacy of the person attending or his instructions leads to the adjournment of the hearing, it will be normal for a wasted costs order to be made. In the Commercial court, case management conferences should be attended on behalf of each party both by the fee earner with the conduct of the case and by at least one of the advocates retained. This is because case management conferences in the Commercial Court are regarded as particularly significant stages in the litigation, and are conducted by a judge who will usually form part of the two-judge team that will manage the case, one of whom will usually subsequently be the trial judge.
Control of evidence
The court may control the evidence to be adduced in the course of proceedings, which may involve excluding evidence that would otherwise be admissible, by giving directions as to:
For more information on:
- Interim applications
- Pre-trial checklists
- Pre-trial review