The Commercial Court has published the report of its Long Trials Working Party set up under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Aikens. The Working Party was established following criticisms arising from the duration and cost of the infamous BCCI v Bank of England and Equitable Life trials. The changes recommended in the report have been adopted by the Commercial Court judges and the Committee of Users of the Commercial Court and will be implemented in a trial period from 1 February 2008 to 31 July 2008.

The aim of the proposals is for trials in complex cases to be shorter and more structured. The key changes include limiting the length of statements of case and the early creation of a judicially settled List of Issues. The List of Issues will take case management precedence over statements of case and will be used to set the parameters for disclosure of documents and the content of witness statements and expert reports. There are also proposals to encourage the greater use, in appropriate cases, of summary judgment and striking out procedures in the Commercial Court and to limit the length of written and oral arguments at trial.

We will continue to monitor developments with regard to these proposals and provide updates at InsureReinsure.com.