I note as an aside that the guidance we have suggests that this is to be the case “in general” – perhaps they too have doubts about how this can be achieved with an ever-decreasing pool of Judges?
If my recollection serves:
(a) they were very much shorter and simpler than the eight-page Mostyn J / Munby P house-rules compliant behemoth cum chimera prepared by District Judge Edward Hess (for which we thank him), and
Or am I missing something?
4. Directions can be agreed between the parties to avoid an unnecessary attendance at Court (the accelerated FDA procedure).
Definitely one for the lawyers, this one.
So, good! A way to address this issue where there is agreement as to appropriate case management.
The new accelerated procedure requires the submission of directions, agreed in every respect. An exception to this may be in relation to a discreet questionnaire point – they will not otherwise, we are told, approve agreed directions in general terms that require replies to a questionnaire subject to a “save for just exception” provision.
As a point of interest, in discussions about the FRU’s operation it was suggested to me by representatives from the judiciary and Bar (in my capacity as the only person present at the time who had ever actually prepared a Form E) that “if only solicitors didn’t take so long to produce Forms E, there would be no issue with early agreements being reached”. Obviously, it couldn’t be our clients who are responsible for that delay, or compliance with the rules, or pension providers taking an age to produce documents, or likewise banks in providing copy statements or……
So it must be the "other profession". QED.
7. Targets (NOT deadlines) for the listing of FDRs and hearings
8. Forward-looking costs budgets at FDA and FDR
Hurrah (I think), but does a Judge really need these to repeat their time-honoured and well-rehearsed homilies about the parties’ hard-earned dosh only going to the lawyers if they don’t agree? Judges seem increasingly to me to have such short memories about lawyers’ charging practises, but I digress...
Having asked the question specifically, I am assured that these will not be “Jackson-type” budgets for which there are very severe consequences under the CPR 1998 if they are inaccurate or even late. But for how long will that remain the case? Other than giving the parties something to think about and / or the lawyers a bollocking, I wonder what purpose these are actually intended to serve?
I presume that this “rule” will only apply in those cases where at least one of the parties is legally represented, but who knows?
Random thoughts, as I said. Don’t start me on the whole mandatory orders thing!
Another random thought for those of you practising in “high net worth” work (this used to be called “big money” – another rebrand): there appears to be little expectation that cases might require to be heard by a High Court Judge, and therefore limited facility for the transfer of proceedings after issue. Paragraph 6 of the FRU Procedure requires parties to make any transfer application at the FDA stage.
The Guidance is well-hidden from those without specialist resources. Although I wonder how many LiPs will be exercised about the eminence of the Judge before whom they are to appear, they will struggle to find it, and, when they do, are unable under its terms to self-certify. Why this transfer process has not been reviewed as part of the FRU’s operation is beyond me. I imagine that we will continue to seek a transfer at the FDA, but that this is something which will always require attendance at the FDA. I note that it is not a direction included in the standard draft order, so we must presume that very few such applications are expected.
We live in interesting times indeed.
Yours, Chairman Ag