Trial arrangements

Direction

Explanation

The trial will be listed as follows:

  1. The trial window is between [date] and [date] inclusive.
  2. The estimated length of trial is [… days].

Initially, a claim may be given a “trial window” of several weeks, during which it is expected the trial will take place. The estimate of the length of the trial is provisional at this stage. If a party comes to believe that too much or too little time has been allowed, he must inform the court, giving reasons.

  1. By [date] the parties must file with the court their availability for trial, preferably agreed and with a nominated single point of contact.  They will be notified of the time and place of trial.

There may be periods when a party or a witness would not be able to come to court. The party must inform the court of this by the date stated. If he does not, it may be very difficult or impossible to change the trial date later.
In arranging the trial date, the court office will work with the persons named as “single point of contact” for each party.

  1. By 4pm on [date] pre-trial check lists must be sent to the court

You can the pre-trial checklist, though the court will usually send out one to each party. Use it to confirm that everything necessary has been done in readiness for the trial. Where this has gone wrong, the judge will probably give further directions. You can apply for particular directions to be given if you wish.
Also use the form to say whether you will need special facilities for the trial (the second part of section B 2) and whether you will be bringing an interpreter (section B 3).

By 4pm on  [date]  the parties are to apply to the Clerk of the Lists for an appointment to fix a date or period for trial

  1. Trial: Judge alone,
  2. Category A/B/C
  3. Trial window from [date] to [date] inclusive
  4. Time estimate xx days;
  5. The parties must file Pre-Trial Check Lists as directed by the Clerk of the Lists.

 

This direction is given only in claims proceeding in the Royal Courts of Justice in London

There will be a pre-trial review [4] weeks before the trial window starts with a time estimate of [30] minutes.

 

The pre-trial review will be conducted by telephone unless the court orders otherwise.  The Claimant must make the relevant arrangements in accordance with Practice Direction 23A Civil Procedure Rules.

A pre-trial review is held if the case is complex or the trial is expected to be lengthy. The aim is to make sure the trial will proceed efficiently, particular areas of dispute being identified and narrowed down as far as possible.

Judges often take hearings by telephone, though less often when parties are unrepresented.
The Practice Direction sets out what the party told to make the arrangements for the telephone conference call should do. Unrepresented parties are rarely expected to do this.

At least 3 clear days before the pre-trial review the Claimant must file and send to the other party or parties preferably agreed and by email:

  1. draft directions
  2. a chronology
  3. a statement of the issues
  4. a case summary
  5. a trial timetable

The Claimant, in co-operation with the other party or parties, must help the judge by suggesting the directions that are thought to be needed.
Describe the directions you think the judge should give. It is better not to try drafting a directions order without qualified help.
A chronology is a list, with dates and in date order, of the events leading up to the claim.
A statement of the issues identifies the matters on which the parties disagree, briefly describing the position taken by each of the parties on each matter.
A case summary is a concise but complete overview of the whole case.
For a trial expected to last several days or more, a timetable describing in what order and roughly when different parts of it will happen is helpful, e.g. in organising witnesses’ attendance.
These documents should be discussed among the parties so that agreed versions can be given to the judge if possible.

Not more than 7 nor less than 3 clear days before the trial, the Claimant must file at court and serve an indexed and paginated bundle of documents, which complies with the requirements of Rule 39.5 Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Direction 39A.  The parties must endeavour to agree the contents of the bundle before it is filed.  The bundle will include:

  1. a case summary;
  2. a chronology.
  3. a trial timetable

The trial bundle becomes the working folder from which the judge and everyone else involved in the trial will work. While one party (usually, as here, the Claimant) is given the job of preparing it, he must do so in consultation with the other parties.
The Practice Direction referred to sets out the detailed requirements at paragraph 3.
The pages of the bundle must all be numbered and an index provided identifying each item and showing its (first) page number so that everyone using the bundle at the trial can find what they want quickly and easily.
Enough copies of the bundle must be prepared and brought to the trial so that there are sufficient for all participants.

The parties must file with the court and exchange skeleton arguments at least 3 days before the trial by email.

A skeleton argument sets out how as a matter of law a party’s case is justified. If you are unrepresented, you will probably need the help of a lawyer to prepare this.
If you do not have access to email, then you should tell the Court that you will have to send this document in paper form.

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