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Litigation ‘lite’: Shorter and flexible trial schemes

Whiston Bristow and Giles Hutt dissect the latest initiative to enter the High Court, which hopes to stem lengthy commercial disputes

21 October 2015

On 1 October 2015 ?the shorter and flexible trials pilot schemes were launched in the Rolls Building of the High Court in London. Both are governed by the new practice direction 51N.

The two schemes share a common purpose: to allow parties to opt for a ‘lite’ form ?of multi-track procedure in commercial disputes that are ?not heavily reliant on documents or witness evidence, with the aim of securing a decision more quickly and cheaply than ?would otherwise be the case. The schemes envisage much being done on paper that ?would normally be dealt with orally. However, there are also important differences in the ?way they work.

To some extent, how the schemes differ is apparent from their names. In the shorter trials scheme (STS), the emphasis is ?on getting through the entire proceedings as quickly ?as possible, with the (maximum four-day) trial taking place ?eight months after the case management conference (CMC). Judgment is delivered within ?six wee...

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