Chancery Masters’ Orders: Effective 1st October 2014

|Tax and Chancery|Guidance|Civil

Introduction

1. From 1st October 2014 there will be fundamental changes to the way in which most orders made by Chancery Masters are produced and served.

2. In conjunction with the creation of electronic files from 1st October 2014 and the implementation of electronic filing due in the latter part of 2015, instead of the court playing the principal role in the production and service of orders, with many orders being drafted by Associates, the parties will be required wherever possible to provide the court with the order in a form which may be approved and sealed without amendment. A nominated party will usually be required to serve the order once it has been sealed.

3. There is a need for draft orders to be lodged in a format which enables minor changes to be made without either the court retyping the order or it being returned to the legal representative for amendment.

4. There will also be a change of practice concerning the service of orders.

Draft orders

5. All draft orders provided to the court must be in the proper form. A sample order in the correct form for an order made at a hearing is attached at Appendix 1.

6. The draft order must include:

(a)    In the heading –                   Master   xxxx

Date xxxx 2014

(b) The service footer as in the paragraph 11 below headed “Back

Sheets/footers”.

Service of orders

7. At present most orders are sealed by the court and sent to the parties and any relevant third parties by the court. In future, the presumption will be that orders are to be served by the parties, with the order specifying which party is to serve it.

8. The court will send the serving party one sealed copy of the order. It is the responsibility of the serving party to ensure that the text of the order and the court seal are legible in copies sent to the receiving parties.

9. The presumption of service by a nominated party will be displaced in the case of orders generated by the court, when there are no represented parties or otherwise in the discretion of the court.

Back sheets/footers

10. Back sheets are not needed and must not be provided.

11. The information which is currently contained in the back sheet prepared by the Associates recording the names and addresses of the parties to whom the order has been sent should be included as a footer immediately below the last paragraph of the order in the format shown in the following example:

 “Service of the order

            A copy of the sealed order was sent by the serving party to:

(1)   ABC Solicitors LLP at [address] [reference] by [means of despatch]

(2)   XYZ Solicitors at [address] [reference] by [means of despatch]

(3)   Second Defendant in person at [address] by [means of despatch]”

12. The identity of the legal representatives need not appear in the order save in the service footer.

13. Where an order is drawn by the court the footer will be in a similar format replacing “serving party” with “court”.

Consent orders (including Tomlin orders)

14. The current position is that very few consent orders lodged with the court may be approved and sealed without amendment because of errors of substance or form. The requirement to lodge ‘clean copies’ of the order with the signed version is routinely ignored.

15. From 1st October 2014 a consent order lodged by solicitors will generally only be accepted by the court and referred to the Master for approval if:

(a) a ‘clean’ copy of the order is provided excluding the signature provisions;

(b) the word “draft” or “minute” does not appear in the order and the title and preamble are in the correct format;

(c) the signed order and clean copy are lodged as a word document by email sent to chancery.mastersappointments@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

(d) the email contains an undertaking that the court fee will be paid within 2 working days;

(e) the order specifies the party who will serve the order;

(f) the order includes a footer (see the paragraph on back sheets/footers) in the correct format showing the names and addresses (with references) of the parties to whom the serving party will send the order and the means by which it will be sent.

16. If these requirements are not complied with, the consent order will not be accepted and it will be returned. An order lodged correctly will be referred to the assigned Master for approval but will not be sealed until the court fee has been paid.

17. If a consent order requires amendment because the terms of the order are not approved by the court, the order will normally be returned for re-drafting. If the changes are minor the Master may choose to make the necessary amendments and approve the order.

18. In cases of real urgency, a party may request a Master to approve a consent order at an Application without Notice hearing at 2.15 provided that the consent order and two clean copies are provided and the court fee has been paid.

19. In the case of Tomlin orders with a confidential schedule, the schedule should not be lodged with the court; but the order must identify clearly the agreement which forms the schedule and where it is held.

20. The lodging of consent orders by email will not apply to litigants in person.

Other orders considered without a hearing (box work)

21. Where the court is asked to make an order, other than a consent order, based upon a draft submitted by a party, the court will usually ask for a copy of the order to be lodged by email in word format with chancery.mastersappointments@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk . The order will be approved, sealed and sent out by the court to the nominated party for service.

22. Where there is no draft order, or the draft is inadequate, the Master may give a direction for a draft to be lodged or instruct an Associate to produce the order based upon the instructions provided by the Master. The order will be sealed and sent out by the court to all the parties if it has been prepared by an Associate (unless the court orders otherwise).

Orders made at hearings

23. The responsibility for producing an accurate draft order reflecting the terms of orders made by the court will rest with either (a) the applicant or (b) the party nominated by the Master. If there remains doubt about who bears responsibility for producing a draft order (for example in the case of multiple applications or where no direction is given by the court), it is to be produced by the Claimant unless the Claimant is a litigant in person.

24. The terms of the order must be noted by the legal representatives present and in the case of doubt about the terms of the order they must be clarified with the court at the hearing.

25. The order should be sent by email as a word document to chancery.mastersappointments@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk preferably within 2 working days of the hearing and copied to the other party(s). The terms of the order should not be ‘negotiated’ between the parties. The draft produced should represent in neutral terms what was understood to have been the intention of the Master. If there are significant differences of view about the correct terms of the order, alternative versions should be recorded on the draft and the Master will determine the points in issue.

26. As with consent orders, and other orders made without a hearing, the order submitted to the court for approval must state which party is to serve the order and must include a footer with information about service. No back sheet should be produced.

27. The Master will settle the terms of the order and give instructions for it to be sealed. It will be then sent by the court to the serving party.

28. Where all parties are unrepresented, the Master will record the terms of the order and an Associate will draw up the order and send a sealed copy to the parties.

Sealing orders

29. Unless an order is referred to an Associate, the order will normally be sealed by the Master’s clerk.

Collection trays

30. Some law firms have an arrangement to collect orders from a designated collection tray. That arrangement will remain unchanged. The reference above to the court sending an order to the serving party should be taken to mean, where appropriate, that the sealed order may be left in a collection tray. It is the responsibility of the law firm concerned to ensure that the order is collected and served promptly

Matthew Marsh

Chief Master

8th September 2014


APPENDIX 1

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

Claim No:123456

CHANCERY DIVISION

Before: Master xxxxx

Dated: XX of xxxxx 201

B E T W E E N:

ABCDEFG

Claimant

-and-

(1) HIJKLMNOP

(2) QRSTUV

Defendants

________­__________________________

 ORDER

_______________________________

UPON the application of [party] by notice dated ….. [or Part 8 claim form]

 

AND UPON READING the written evidence filed

AND UPON HEARING legal representatives for the Claimant and the first Defendant and the second Defendant in person

IT IS ORDERED that:

  1. ……………………………………..
  1. ……………………………………..
  1. This order shall be served by the Claimant on the Defendants

Service of the order

A copy of the sealed order was sent by the Claimant to:

(1) ABC LLP solicitors for the first Defendant at [address] [reference] by [means of despatch]

(2) The second defendant acting in person at [address] by [means of despatch]