The “Shorter and Flexible Trials Pilot Schemes” start on 1 October, with the express aim of, unsurprisingly, making some Litigation started after that date much quicker and therefore much cheaper. These 2 schemes will run for 2 years and only in the courts based out of the Royal Courts of Justice, Rolls Building, on Fetter Lane, London. One of those courts is the Technology & Construction Court. Construction and Engineering disputes will fall squarely into both schemes.
These schemes provide for considerably abbreviated litigation, in terms of the number of steps taken, the scope of each step and the timetable for going through them all. The “Shorter” trials will not exceed 4 days.
Construction & Engineering disputes are often document, witness, expert and party heavy, ie not exactly Litigation Lite. So the big question is how many of these disputes can be sensibly condensed and threaded through this narrow gateway. Certainly the Courts will encourage parties and lawyers alike to think seriously about whether they can use these schemes.