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Practice Notes
11 December 2014

The following practice notes have been issued.


1. The existing pattern of three applications day per month in Manchester and one application day per month in Liverpool has been under review since January 2008.

2. An analysis of the number of applications in cases issued in Manchester and in Liverpool over the last 12 months has shown not only that a substantial majority were Manchester cases but also that the great majority of applications heard on the monthly Liverpool applications day were from Manchester. Indeed on some of those days there were no Liverpool applications at all.

3. Having consulted interested parties, the Vice-Chancellor has decided that the practice of a monthly applications day in Liverpool should cease and that for the future, with immediate effect, the weekly applications list will be heard in Manchester.

4. At the same time, this opportunity is being taken of reiterating that Liverpool cases should be tried in Liverpool. Any decision to list a Liverpool case for trial out of Liverpool must be taken by one of the specialist circuit judges or by the Vice-Chancellor. If the decision is taken to list for trial out of Liverpool, a statement of the reasons will be provided to the parties and kept on the case file.

5. Every effort will be made to hear in Liverpool shorter matters in Liverpool cases listed for hearing by the SCJs (PTRs, appeals, applications directed to be heard by order), either by listing a number of them for the same day or by listing them on days when a SCJ is in Liverpool for a trial. This will be kept under review to ensure that it works efficiently.

David Richards J
Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster
15 May 2009


1. Despite attempts to encourage compliance with the Chancery Guide and express case management directions concerning the lodging of skeleton submissions, written opening submissions, trial and application bundles, parties continue to ignore these requirements on a wide spread basis at all levels of case. This means that the judges concerned cannot pre-read at all or cannot pre-read efficiently. This results in hearings lasting longer than need otherwise be the case which in turn means that hearings are more expensive for the parties than is necessary and court time is not used as efficiently as it might be. None of this is acceptable.

2. Set out below is the practice that is to be adopted in all cases taking place either in the High Court, Chancery Division, Manchester, Liverpool or Preston District Registries or in either the Manchester Liverpool or Preston County Courts which have been marked 'Chancery business'.

a. A Copy of the trial, application or appeal bundle and any bundle of agreed authorities and other legal materials is to be lodged with the relevant court or direct registry office by no later than the time fixed by any express direction given at either a case management conference or pre trial review or if no such order has been given then as directed by the Chancery Guide. The requirements of the Chancery Guide are summarised in the Appendix to this Note.
b. Only one copy of the Bundle must be lodged. Copies for use by witnesses must be brought to the court on the day of the hearing unless previous arrangements have been made with the listing officer before hand or a direction to different effect has been given at either a case management conference or pre trial review.

4. Skeleton and Written Opening Submissions
a. Skeletons are required to be lodged on behalf of all parties to any appeal or trial. Skeletons must be lodged with the relevant District Registry or Court office no later than the date and time fixed by any express direction given at a case management conference or pre trial review or if no express direction has been given then by no later than the time fixed by the Chancery Guide. The requirements of the Chancery Guide concerning the lodging of skeletons are summarised in the Appendix to this Note.
b. In relation to all chancery applications, skeleton submissions must be lodged by no later than the day and time fixed by the Chancery Guide. In the event that compliance is not possible (for example because the application is made without notice in circumstances of great urgency) then a short explanation for the failure to comply should be set out either in the body of the skeleton or, preferably, in an e mail or fax to the Court concerned marked for the immediate attention of the judge concerned. Explanations to the effect that instructions have been received late are not acceptable unless the date and time at which the solicitor and counsel received instructions is set out.

5. Sanctions
a. The Chancery Guide sets out the sanctions available to the court in the event that bundles or skeletons are not lodged as required. They are summarised in the Appendix. Parties who lodge skeletons late may expect some or all of the sanctions referred to be imposed in the absence of exceptional circumstances.
b. The practice adopted at the Royal Courts of Justice referred to in paragraph 7.31 of the chancery guide will be adopted on this circuit from 1st November 2008. These records will be reviewed by the Vice Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster each time he sits on circuit. He will consider such further action as appropriate in relation to any recurrent failure by any chambers, barrister or solicitors firm to comply with the directions contained in this Note.

David Richards J
Vice-Chancellor of the County Palatine of Lancaster
17th October 2008


BUNDLES - see Chancery Guide, Paragraphs 7.9-7.16 and 7.43
Subject to any express direction given at a CMC or PTR, one copy of a properly prepared bundle is to be lodged at the District Registry or Court office concerned not less than 2 clear days and not more than 7 clear days prior to the hearing - see chancery guide paragraph 7.16. For what constitutes a properly prepared bundle see Chancery guide, paragraphs 7.9-7.15. This direction applies both to hearings before High Court, Circuit and District Judges except interim applications.

Bundles for interim applications are to be delivered to the relevant District Registry or Court office by no later than 10 am on the day prior to the hearing unless the court otherwise agrees - see Chancery Guide, Paragraph 7.16. The agreement of the court means the agreement of the judge hearing the application or a judge of coordinate jurisdiction.

SKELETONS - see Chancery Guide, Paragraphs 7.20-7.23 and 7.47
Trials and applications by Order - 2 clear days before the date or first date on which the hearing is due to start;
Applications without notice - with the papers which the judge is asked to read;
Applications other than those referred to above - No later than 10 am on the day prior to the hearing;
Hearings before District Judges - With Bundles.

SANCTIONS - see Chancery Guide, Paragraph 7.30
Failure to lodge skeletons or bundles in accordance with the directions contained in this Note may result in:
(i) the matter not being heard on the date in question;
(ii) the costs of preparation being disallowed; and
(iii) an adverse costs order being made.

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