The Court system is always trying to find a way to shorten the time taken to have cases reach the Courtroom. This benefits all parties, and creates certainty all round, and enabling cases to be seen more quickly means commercial problems caused by litigation can be resolved more quickly. Here is an overview of the new Shorter Trials Scheme, and what it tries to achieve.
The STS is a scheme that has been running in the Rolls Building since the 1 October 2015.
The aim of the STS is to achieve shorter and earlier trials for business related litigation, at a reasonable and proportionate cost.
The STS procedure offers dispute resolution on a commercial timescale. Cases will be case managed by docketed Judges with the aim of reaching trial within approximately 10 months of the issue of proceedings, and judgment within six weeks thereafter. The procedure is intended for cases which can be fairly tried on the basis of limited disclosure and oral evidence. The maximum length of trial would be four days, including reading time.
The STS has the following features
- Speed of resolution and therefore certainty
- Lower costs
- Quicker recoverability of costs
- No costs management
- Tight time-scales
- Truncated pre-action procedures
- Limited disclosure (which otherwise can take up a lot of time)
Which courts use it?
The STS is for all cases in the Admiralty and Commercial Court, the London Mercantile Court, the Technology and Construction Court, and the Patents Court and for business cases in the Chancery Division.
The STS will not normally be suitable for:
- Cases including an allegation of fraud or dishonesty.
- Cases which are likely to require extensive disclosure and/or reliance on extensive witness or expert evidence.
- Cases involving multiple issues and multiple parties, save for Part 20 counterclaims for revocation of an intellectual property right.
- Cases in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court.
- Public procurement cases.