for interlocutory hearings before the Master of the Royal Court, the Judicial Greffier or
other Greffier Substitutes
Until further notice because of the corona virus pandemic and social
distancing requirements, where a hearing is required before the Master of the
Royal Court (which shall include the Judicial Greffier or Advocates Wilson or
Robinson acting as Greffier Substitutes) the following approach will be taken.
all existing and new summonses, a date fix appointment should be sought in the
usual way. By the time set for a date fix hearing, the Master will indicate
whether an oral hearing is required or whether a summons may be determined on
the papers. He will also decide who
will conduct the application.
the first Directions Hearing, the determination will ordinarily be on the
papers. Any oral hearing will be conducted online using StarLeaf and taking the
approach set out in this guidance.
a Directions Hearing, the Master will set a date by which the parties are to
file their suggested directions, together with any necessary explanation and
supporting documentation to justify the directions sought where these are not
self-explanatory. Any explanation or supporting documentation should be as
concise as possible.
advance of the specified filing date, the parties and their advisors should
endeavour to reach agreement on the proposed directions. The Master will then
issue a decision on any remaining areas of disagreement with brief reasons
where an explanation is required.
If any oral submissions are required the parties will be notified and a
short hearing fixed.
all other hearings, a date for a hearing will be fixed in the usual way. If
there are multiple summonses in the same matter the Master will determine prior
to the date fix whether the summonses can be heard together, having regard to
this guidance, and, if a single hearing is not possible, the order in which
they are to be heard. This may include different issues raised by a summons
being dealt with at different hearings.
maximum length of time for any remote video hearing before the Master will be
three hours. If longer time is required or in cases which require review of
extensive documentation or authorities, then a video conference hearing using
installed video conference equipment will be arranged before the Judicial
Greffier or one of the Greffier Substitutes appointed to assist with the
coronavirus outbreak. If there is no other option, a party may have to attend
in person complying with all social distancing and other preventative measures
in place. The parties should therefore provide an estimate of the length of
time required to determine the summons. The Master will determine what length
of hearing is required.
Master will also fix a timetable for the filing of any evidence or submissions
required to determine the summons. To assist the Master, when issuing a summons
the application should be accompanied by a suggested timetable for the filing
of evidence. The other party(ies) should file any comments in response by the
time of the date fix hearing. Please note that any skeletons should be
exchanged one week before any hearing rather than 2 working days. The Master
may revisit the timetable set at any stage on receipt of any evidence or skeleton
relation to bundles, these should be filed electronically with the Master’s secretary and
should be as concise as possible with only necessary authorities and
affidavits. For lengthy decisions, relevant extracts in their context will be
adequate. For exhibits only, a bundle should only contain a document (or a
relevant part for lengthy documents) a party wishes to refer to.
all evidence and submissions are filed, the Master or appointed presiding judge
may give an indication of what questions he wishes the parties to focus on,
whether any further evidence is needed and whether he has reached any
preliminary view on any of the issues in dispute. This is to assist the parties
and should not be taken to be a final determination.
must use the StarLeaf with sufficient functionality to permit three hour hearings.
Those taking part in the hearing will have to provide an email address to the
Master’s secretary. If this is a personal email it will only be used for
the call and will not be retained after the call. The call will be recorded and
a copy retained in the usual way.
logging in an attendee must insert their full name and use the email address
previously provided to the Master’s secretary
the hearing the presiding judge will determine the order in which he is to be
addressed and any necessary rules to conduct the hearing. The presiding judge will have its camera
and microphone on at all times. A party or legal representative intending to
address the presiding judge should have a video on and should be clearly
visible. Their microphone should be muted unless addressing the presiding judge.
If a party wishes to intervene they should turn their microphone on and the
presiding judge will invite the participant to speak at an appropriate moment. All
other attendees should have cameras and mikes off i.e. they may listen only.
recordings or other images of the hearing may be taken or downloaded. Any
breach of this rule will be a contempt of court.
hour a 5 minute adjournment may also occur. Adjournments may also be requested
to take instructions at any time either by parties logging out or all
microphones being muted.
appropriate to the dignity of a court hearing is required as far as possible.
court will either announce its decision at the end of the hearing or may
reserve its decision in the usual way. Any decision will be recorded in an Act
of Court. The court may provide oral reasons, written reasons or a written
Finally, parties are asked to bear with the Court during the coronavirus
pandemic. All sitting as presiding judges for interlocutory matters are making
the best use of technology they can to continue to provide effective case
management in a manner consistent with fair and open justice.
This Practice Direction will come into force with immediate effect