A leading set specialising in commercial, construction, insurance and property law
The phrase “business as usual” has become cliché overnight. Hardwicke’s CDR team is attending hearings, drafting and advising and just as before. But, as regards litigation, the phrase is not wholly accurate. The courts are not operating as usual, solicitors and barristers are working remotely, and it’s not yet clear how the current crisis will impact the commercial litigation market. From that perspective the situation is very unusual.
The Hardwicke CDR team has adapted quickly to business as usual under unusual conditions. At Hardwicke, we have learned a number of lessons very quickly. Many of these lessons involve existing technology. Microsoft Teams organisation and Zoom conferences have already become and will likely remain a mainstay of chambers’ internal working practices. Members have already conducted various remote mediations, Zoom seminars and much of our upcoming 2020 seminar program is being transferred to an interactive video model. Conferences with client by video is now the norm.
The more significant question is whether hearings are continuing and, if so, how to approach them. While it’s true that the majority have been adjourned, many are certainly ongoing. In our experience, the key to ensuring hearings proceed remotely is proactivity from the parties’ representatives and the court – where there is a will there is usually a way. Don’t assume that both sides need to agree for a hearing to go ahead: adjournments are not being granted as of right if it is possible and fair to proceed.
In recent days, Hardwicke’s members have attended:
This is an early opportunity to share our experiences of litigating under these unusual conditions and offer any practical insights we have picked up on the way. These tips are purely practical; substantive Hardwicke CDR material and upcoming seminars can be found here.
One of the major difficulties at present is that different courts have reacted differently to the crisis. Members of Hardwicke’s practice management team are the first and best port of call for the most up to date information about current listing policies – click here for all the latest updates.
In the Commercial Court hearings are proceeding unless parties apply to adjourn, using telephone, Skype and even broadcasting on Youtube. Parties should explore the possibility of proceedings remotely before applying to adjourn.
Otherwise, these are the most useful references we have found for up-to-date information:
We’d be interested to know of your own experiences and any helpful experience or materials you’ve come across so please do contact Jack Dillon.
This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of Chambers or by Chambers as a whole.