“Standard” / default trial directions

Practitioners are reminded that it is no longer possible to agree simply that “standard directions apply”. This is because the Rules do not prescribe when the briefs are to be filed and the timing of several other steps depends on when the briefs are filed.

The following is a summary of the most important provisions in the High Court Rules:

1) The hearing and the close of pleadings dates are to be fixed by the Court – HR 7.6.

2) Briefs are to be filed on a date or dates as fixed by the Court – HR9.7(2).

3) Unless directed otherwise, the common bundle is to be served no later than 15 working days after the date the last brief has been served – HR9.4(6).

4) Plaintiff’s chronology is to be filed and served no later than 15 working days after the common bundle has been served – HR9.9(1).

5) Defendant’s chronology is to be filed and served no later than 15 working days after service of plaintiff’s chronology – HR9.9(3).

6) The Court is to be notified of significant disputed facts no later than 15 working days after service of the chronologies – HR9.10(2).

7) A synopsis of plaintiff’s opening is to be filed and served two working days before the hearing – HR9.16

The following is a summary of the most important provisions in the District Courts Rules:

1) In terms of DR7.4, as read with Part B of Schedule 3, the Court is to fix:

a. the hearing date;
b. the close of pleadings date; and
c. a timetable for filing briefs.

2) Unless the Court directs otherwise, the common bundle must be filed and served 10 working days after service of last brief – DR9.4(7).

3) Chronologies – same as High Court – DR9.9(1) and (3).

4) Notice to Court of significant disputed facts – same as High Court – DR9.10(1).

5) Synopsis of plaintiff’s opening – same as High Court – DR9.16.

An example of a form used by the Associate Judges dealing with directions that are generally required for a trial can be found here.

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