The practice in relation to filing applications on CE File which are intended to be dealt with without a hearing is causing a huge waste of time for the judges dealing with them and for the staff supporting them. The Judges have to deal with many dozens of such applications each week. There is widespread non-compliance with the Commercial Court Guide. In particular paragraphs F4.1 (without hearing applications generally), F9.1 (consent orders), D19.5 (Tomlin Orders) and D19.6 (discontinuance) are regularly being ignored.
I wish to emphasise the following:
- What is required is a single filing of all the material which it is necessary for the Judge to read in order to decide the application. Where appropriate there should be a short letter explaining the reasons for the application or its context. If the application requires reading a document which has already been filed, such as a witness statement, it must be refiled as part of the application. This applies to applications for consent orders as well as to without notice applications.
- The constituent documents must be properly labelled, so that they can quickly be identified. Currently there is a prevalent practice of erroneous labelling or simply using “miscellaneous” in place of the correct label. If one wants to look at a witness statement or particular order, for example, it is particularly time consuming to have to open a series of documents labelled miscellaneous in order to find it. It is hoped that the labels currently available are sufficient to enable this to be done efficiently, but if practitioners have further suggestions they will be welcome.
- A copy of every relevant previous order must be included. This applies to many consent order applications but few currently fulfil it.
- All Tomlin orders must include the relevant schedule notwithstanding any confidentiality. The Court will not make an order providing that the parties can enforce its terms on an application without checking whether all the terms make that appropriate.
- Any order proposing to amend a procedural timetable must be accompanied by a note of the trial date or application hearing date if already fixed and confirmation that the amendment will not affect the trial date or any fixed hearing date (including a PTR).
- Every application must have a word format copy of the draft order so that it can if necessary be amended before sealing.
- This all applies equally to applications in the London Circuit Commercial Court.
The Judges and staff will no longer root around in the event log trying to find the relevant material, as they do at present. Non-compliant applications will simply be rejected.
The Honourable Mr Justice Popplewell