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Controlling the Process: A Practical View from the Bar

In his latest column for PLC,James Bickford Smith discusses the increasing willingness of judges to use their case management powers.

Alongside the continued wave of decisions on relief from sanctions applications, a few decisions are now coming through that reflect the general shift in approaches to case management that many practitioners may have encountered for themselves. Given that most case management decisions are neither reported nor reportable, this shift is rather hard to pin down, but some trends now seem sufficiently common to deserve treatment here (not least given this column’s focus on practice):

  • There seems to be an increasing trend for the type of more minor procedural hearings that in the past were seen as routine to become anything but routine.
  • Many courts seem increasingly reluctant to approve directions (even if agreed) that will result, or may even potentially result, in disruption to the trial timetable.
  • There seems an increasing expectation that applications for expert evidence will be justified in considerable detail even where seemingly uncontroversial.
  • Some cases are being pushed towards trial when in no state to be heard, leaving trial judges facing real difficulties.
  • Read the full article here.

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