Update from the High Court (July 2019)

We have received an update on a range of matters from the Chief High Court Judge Hon. Justice Venning. These include:

Rules Committee consideration of unbundling of services

At its meeting on 17 June, the Rules Committee considered the issue of unbundling of legal services, particularly in the context of it being one means of promoting access to justice.

The Committee supports the provision of legal services by practitioners under a limited retainer.   The  Committee's view is that the current Rules do not prevent practitioners from appearing and acting under such arrangements. The committee will, however, review r 5.40(1) and consider whether it is necessary to clarify the position of practitioners acting under a limited retainer.
The Committee is also to consider the issue of whether to allow costs to scale for those attendances where a practitioner has been involved on a limited retainer.

It was agreed that lawyers should not be asked or placed under pressure to assist the Court more widely where they have been involved in providing services under a limited retainer. Practitioners appearing on a limited retainer should make that clear to the  Court.

Revised judgment distribution practices

There have been some adjustments to the court1s processes for the distribution of reserved judgments. In all cases, except judgments of public interest, counsel will now have three hours to advise the registry of any issues regarding publication before a reserved judgment is sent to the media and legal publishers.  The delay before judgments of public interest are sent to media or publishers will continue to be one hour.

Legal publishers and media organisations who have indicated an interest in a particular case will now also receive a copy of the judge's synopsis of the judgment and identification of any restrictions on publication, along with the judgment.

Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal transfers from the High Court

The Tribunal became operative from 1 July 2019. There is an ability to apply to transfer existing proceedings in the High Court to the Tribunal. I have issued a practice note describing how that is to occur. A formal notice of application is not required. A memorandum will be sufficient. The other party must respond by memorandum and either consent or oppose the transfer. No fee is payable.  Determinations will generally be made on the papers or after a teleconference. For more information refer to the Practice Note 2019 Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal.

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