REVIEW OF BLOCK LISTING: HELP PIBA WITH INFORMATION ON ITS “EFFECTIVENESS” (AND THE PROBLEMS CAUSED TO THOSE WHO ARE NOT REACHED)
Every so often the MOJ has periods of “block listing” events at the Royal Court of Justice. Essentially many Fast Track cases are listed and many dozens of litigants turn up in the hope of having their cases heard. This may be a useful way of clearing backlogs. However there are some people who view the MOJ statistics (perhaps “spin”) on the results of this with some scepticism. Some cases are “reached” only to be adjourned to another day, yet these may be counted in the official statistics as a “success”. The risk of not getting reached is passed on to the litigant (and their lawyers). The Personal Injury Bar Association is asking people to monitor the “success” of this project. The note is (with PIBA’s permission) is set out below. Replies are welcome from those who are not PIBA members. I would also welcome first-hand accounts from those who attended court to find that their case was not reached, or was dealt with in such a way that only the MOJ could regard it as a “success”. (This blog has documented the MOJ’s response to any kind of proper scrutiny of any shortcomings it may have, so careful scrutiny and evidence is essential).
As you may be aware, the MOJ is undertaking another block listing session utilising the RCJ between 23 and 29 April. The MOJ thinks this is an effective method of clearing the backlog of small claims and fast track trials which accumulate each year. The MOJ captures data in respect of how many cases are heard during the block listing weeks at the RCJ.
However, PIBA is concerned that the MOJ is not capturing all the relevant data in making this assessment. In order to mitigate the impact of block listing on PIBA members, PIBA needs to be armed with data to inform its representations to the Ministry, particularly in respect of cases which get adjourned or vacated, or are otherwise disposed of without trial.
This is where you come in. The PIBA Junior Sub Committee would be grateful for your help in capturing as much information about cases which are subject to the policy. Perhaps you have a client who has had to wait all day at court before getting adjourned? Perhaps you or your client have felt under pressure to settle due to lack of court time or the prospect of having to come back another day? These are the kinds of issues which are not being captured, and which PIBA considers are important in assessing whether the block listing policy at the RCJ is actually working. PIBA’s representations on your behalf will be all the more effective if we have proper data upon which to base these arguments.
If you click here you will be taken to a spreadsheet which aims to address these issues in a suitably anonymised format. We would be grateful if you could record any of your cases which are listed during the block listing week in the RCJ between 23 and 29 April and return it to Daniel Laking (firstname.lastname@example.org). Any help you can give us in filling this in would be much appreciated. Please circulate this email to any Members of Chambers who are not members of PIBA; our aim is to conduct as wide a survey as possible.
Please remember to save the spreadsheet to your computer before filling it in.
The PIBA Junior Sub Committee