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Background to the Commercial Lists

The Commercial List was announced by the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Hutton, on 29th June 1992. Its purpose was to expedite the progression of commercial actions. Cases are included in the Commercial List at the direction of the Judiciary. On inclusion, the Commercial Judge issues a set of directions and then further sits at regular intervals to progress the case management of the litigation. The result of this is to streamline commercial actions, avoid unnecessary delay and ensure that commercial court users, and the business community as a whole, receive an optimum service. Please click on the following links for the guidelines and general information in relation to practice directions

Commercial List General Practice Direction and Guidelines for Extension of Time / Amendments of Directions

The Commercial List is an attractive forum for the efficient disposal of disputes arising out of business transactions. Commercial litigation can be lengthy, complex and requires the use of various experts. The Commercial Court by its nature holds an appreciation of the spectrum of commercial litigation and the various experts required and can thus offer prompt understanding and prescriptive remedy. Further, the Commercial List Office has issued a practice direction in relation to expert evidence in order to aid the carriage of commercial cases. Please click on the following link to read the said direction in a PDF format.

Commercial List Practice Direction Expert Evidence

Commercial List Practice Direction Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

On occasion, the Commercial Judge can direct that a case be considered for mediation as opposed to litigation, whereupon the parties undertake to resolve the case through an appointed mediator. In instances where this is directed by the Commercial Judge the following document can be referred to by commercial practitioners as an introduction to the concept of mediation for their clients.

Mediation Letter Precedent Example.

It is useful to note that the Law Society of Northern Ireland operates a Dispute Resolution Service. Please click on to the following link for a comprehensive guide as to mediation.

ADR - a new mediation and conciliation initiative by the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

Barrister Mediation Services (BMS)

The Bar Library provides a pool of Bar Council accredited and highly trained Mediators. All BMS Mediators are independent barristers who have experience of acting in all types of civil litigation. There is no registration fee to access the resources in this service. Please use this link to access the BMS Directory which provides profiles and a contact details for each of the individual Mediators listed.

Pre-Action Protocol for Commercial Actions

The Pre-Action Protocol for Commercial Actions can be accesses via the attached link it sets out the recommended procedure to be followed before the issue of proceedings.

When issuing Commercial proceedings the following statement should be endorsed on the writ of summons “In the opinion of the plaintiff’s solicitor/plaintiff this is a commercial action.” This is to comply with practice note 01/13 which can be accessed via the following link.

The attached link will take you to the guidance note on a Scott Schedule the purpose of which is to set out in tabular form the positions of the respective parties on each item in dispute for use at the hearing of the case.

01 Jan 2013 Practice Note 01/13
01 Jan 2013 Pre Action Protocol for Commercial Actions
01 Jan 2013 Scott Schedule – Guidance Note