This note is not part of the rules, but is intended to indicate their general effect.
These rules amend the High Court Rules. The rules come into force on 24 November 2003.
Rule 3 sets out new definitions that relate to interlocutory applications and case management conferences.
Rule 4 inserts a new rule 43A, which requires a party's solicitor promptly to notify the party of any order or direction that affects the party.
Rule 5 replaces existing rules 234 to 269 with new rules 234 to 262, which relate to interlocutory applications. The changes made by the new rules include—
•postal filing for all interlocutory applications:
•the removal of existing restrictions on the counsel or solicitors who may certify applications for ex parte applications:
•the conduct of hearings of interlocutory applications by telephone or video link:
•a process for the Court's consideration of ex parte applications. This includes a power to adjourn the determination of an application until it has been served on persons affected by it:
•the relaxation of the requirement in existing rule 267 to draw up interlocutory orders:
•the replacement of existing rule 264, which relates to reviews of orders, by 2 new rules. New rule 259 provides for the variation or rescission of an interlocutory order made by a Judge, if the order is shown to be wrong. New rule 260 provides for the variation of orders relating to the management of a proceeding. Such orders may be varied if there has been a change in circumstances. The power to vary under new rule 260 also applies to orders made by a Master in Chambers.
Rule 6 revokes existing rule 277, which relates to the enforcement of interlocutory orders. The substance of this rule is now contained in new rule 258.
Rule 7 substitutes new rules 425 to 438AA. The new rules provide for a case management system that includes the allocation of hearing dates and setting down dates. The provisions incorporate into the High Court Rules components of a case management system currently set out in a practice direction. They make, however, some important changes to existing practices. The aim has been to streamline pre-trial procedures so as to reduce legal expense and court time required for conferences. The principal features of the new system include—
•the division of proceedings, for the purpose of the case management system, into 2 tracks: the swift track and the standard track. Subject to the Court's power to move proceedings between tracks, all types of proceedings are on the standard track other than the following types of proceeding, which are on the swift track:
•appeals under Parts 10 and 17:
•applications by plaintiffs for summary judgments:
•company liquidation applications:
•case management conferences are held so that the Court may assist the parties in the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of the proceeding. This includes the determination of procedural matters and, if practicable, the determination of outstanding interlocutory applications:
•a requirement that a case management conference for a proceeding on the standard track be held within 35 working days after the commencement of the proceeding. If a second case management conference is held, it must be held within 75 working days after the commencement of the proceeding:
•case management conferences for appeals must be held within 15 working days after the date on which the notice of appeal is filed.
New rules 432 to 438AA relate to the allocation of hearing dates and setting down dates. The new rules discontinue the use of praecipes, which, under the existing rules, are filed by parties to set a proceeding down for trial and to obtain a hearing date. Under the new rules, the hearing date for a proceeding on the standard track is allocated by the Court or by the Registrar at the direction of the Court. The Court may also fix the setting down date when it allocates the hearing date. But if it does not do so, the setting down date is 40 working days before the hearing date or, if the hearing date is sooner than 40 working days, the date on which the hearing date is allocated.
Rule 8 revokes existing rule 441, which relates to the power of the Court to convene a conference of the parties. The rule has been superseded by the case management system enacted by rule 7.
Rule 9 restates existing rule 441A, which governs the application of rules relating to the statements of witnesses. New rule 441A extends the application to the new rules inserted by rule 11, which relate to common bundles of documents intended to be used in evidence at the hearing. Rule 9 also restates existing rule 441B, which relates to the obligation of the plaintiff to give written statements of witnesses to the other parties before trial. The change made to the rule is partly consequential on the abolition of praecipes, as the plaintiff's obligation arises, under the existing rule, 21 days after the filing of the praecipe. Under new rule 441B, the plaintiff's obligation arises 15 working days after the setting down date or on a date fixed by the Court for the purpose.
Rule 10 amends rule 441C, which relates to the service of the statements of witnesses by parties other than the plaintiff. The existing deadline of 21 days after service of the plaintiff's statements is changed to 15 working days.
Rule 11 inserts new rules 441M to 441Q, which relate to the preparation of a common bundle of documents intended to be used in evidence in the proceeding. Unless the Court otherwise directs, the new rules will apply to all proceedings other than specified proceedings, that is proceedings on the swift track, proceedings in which evidence is to be given by affidavit, or proceedings in which an agreed statement of facts has been filed. In the absence of a contrary direction by the Court, the new rules will not apply to specified proceedings. New rule 441M requires a party who wishes to rely on documents at a hearing to include those documents in an index and to serve the index on the other parties. New rule 441N requires the plaintiff to include all documents referred to in the indexes of documents in a common bundle of documents. The plaintiff must, not later than 5 working days before the hearing, file 2 copies of the common bundle in the Court and serve 1 copy of the common bundle on every other party. New rule 441O raises a number of presumptions relating to the authenticity and description of documents that have been included in the common bundle. It also provides that a document in the common bundle is received into evidence when a witness refers to it in evidence or when counsel refers to it in submissions. New rule 441P provides that a document that is not included in the common bundle may be produced at the hearing only with the leave of the Court. New rule 441 Q requires the plaintiff to file and serve, 2 working days before the hearing, a copy of the plaintiff's opening and a chronology of events.
Rule 12 substitutes rule 442, which relates to settlement conferences convened by Judges. The rules make 2 substantive changes. First, pre-hearing conferences may be convened by Masters as well as by Judges. Second, a Judge can preside at both the conference and the substantive hearing only if all parties taking part in the conference consent and the Judge is satisfied that there are no circumstances that would make it inappropriate for the Judge to do so.
Rule 13 revokes rule 499(2), which relates to deposits for expenses involved in bringing inmates to Court.
Rule 14 replaces Part 10 of the High Court Rules with a new Part.
The District Courts Amendment Act 2002, which also comes into force on 24 November 2003, replaces Part 5 of the District Courts Act 1947 with a new Part 5. The procedure for appeals from decisions of District Courts to the High Court was governed by the former Part 5. The effect of the new Part 5 is to require the procedural rules for appeals from District Courts to the High Court to be prescribed by the High Court Rules.
The new Part 10 sets out, with certain exceptions, in a single set of rules the procedure for appeals to the High Court from decisions of all courts, including District Courts, tribunals, and other decision-makers. The exceptions are—
Part 10 of the High Court Rules, as in force before the commencement of the new rules, continues to apply to appeals commenced under that Part before the new rules come into force.
Rule 15 amends rule 887, which relates to transcripts of evidence in appeals against arbitral awards. New subclause (1) is consequential on new rule 430. New subclause (2) removes the existing distinction between appeals based on the ground of no evidence and appeals on other grounds, and instead empowers the Court to order the transcription of any evidence that is required for a proper determination of the appeal.
Rule 16 consequentially revokes 2 forms.
Rule 17 adds new Schedules 5 and 6 to the High Court Rules. Schedule 5 deals with matters to be considered at a case management conference for proceedings other than appeals. Schedule 6, sets out standard directions for appeals.
Rule 18 consequentially amends the High Court Rules in the manner set out in Schedule 2.
Rule 19 sets out transitional provisions.