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Trial Time Limits

Trial Time limits in relation to the Technology and Construction Court

Generally trials in the Technology and Construction Court are conducted under some form of time limit arrangement. Several variants of time limit arrangements are available, but the Technology and Construction Court has developed the practice of imposing flexible guidelines in the form of directions as to the sharing of the time allotted for the trial. These are not mandatory but an advocate should ordinarily be expected to comply with them. The practice is, in the usual case, for the Technology and Construction Court to fix, or for the parties to agree, at the Pre-trial Review or before trial an overall length of time for the trial and overall lengths of time within that period for the evidence and submissions. The part of those overall lengths of time that will be allocated to each party must then be agreed or directed. The amount of time to be allotted to each party will not usually be the same. The guide is that each party should have as much time as is reasonably needed for it to present its case and to test and cross examine any opposing case, but no longer. Before the trial, the parties should agree a running order of the witnesses and the approximate length of time required for each witness. A trial timetable should be provided to the Technology and Construction Court when the trial starts and, in long trials, regularly updated. The practice of imposing a strict guillotine on the examination or cross examination of witnesses, is not normally appropriate. Flexibility is encouraged, but the agreed or directed time limits should not ordinarily be exceeded without good reason. It is unfair on a party, if that party’s advocate has confined cross-examination to the agreed time limits, but an opposing party then greatly exceeds the corresponding time limits that it has been allocated. An alternative form of time limit, which is sometimes agreed between the parties and approved by the court, is the “chess clock arrangement”. The available time is divided equally between the parties, to be used by the parties as they see fit. Thus each side has X hours. One representative on each side operates the chess clock. The judge has discretion “to stop the clock” in exceptional circumstances. A chess clock arrangement is only practicable in a two-party case.

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  • Article Name: Trial Time Limits
  • Author: Owen Stone
  • Description: Trial Time limits in relation to the Technology and Construction Court [rtbs [...]

This entry was last updated: February 16, 2020


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