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The latest High Court Practice Direction (Practice Direction HC75) came into effect last Monday, 9 April 2018. It relates to Non-Jury and Chancery cases in the High
Court only.

In HC75 Judge Peter Kelly has made significant changes to the procedure in obtaining a trial date. It is still the case that a Certificate of Readiness must be completed before a trial date is obtained and it is also still the case that the Certificate must be signed by Counsel (or if Counsel is not briefed then by the acting Solicitor). There are however some new additional and more onerous requirements as follows:

  • One month’s notice must be given to the opposing party before the case is certified. During that period, the parties must consult to ensure “accurate completion” of the Certificate particularly insofar as the duration of the trial is concerned. Presumably therefore “accurate completion” means that the case is genuinely ready to proceed, both parties agree this is the case and that the estimated duration of the case is a realistic, agreed estimate.
  • There could be cost implications for either party for failure to provide an accurate certificate. Again, the emphasis appears to be on the agreed duration of the trial and cooperation between the parties in finalising the Certificate. Cost penalties may arise regardless of the result of the action.
  • There is a new form for the Certificate of Readiness. This new form is of interest in that it positively asserts that the party wishing to call the case on has consulted with the other parties to the action. More importantly however, it must confirm whether it is proposed to call expert witnesses or not and whether those experts have prepared and exchanged reports and/or have met. If it is not intended that the reports be exchanged and/or that the experts meet, then an explanation must be given.

Practice Direction HC75 is likely to herald significant changes in how certain High Court cases are run for years to come.

For more information, you can contact Brian Ó Longaigh at brian@crowleymillar.com who is a Partner in the Litigation Department of Crowley Millar Solicitors.

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