THE NEED FOR ACCURATE TIME ESTIMATES: A PLEA FROM THE BENCH: A 2 1/2 HOUR TIME ESTIMATE REQUIRED TWO DAYS
This is not the first time this blog has noted judicial comments on the need for realistic time estimates. This can be seen clearly in the judgment of HHJ Russen QC in Potgieter v Village  EW Misc 18 (CC).
“The Application issued with a 2½ hour time estimate was really more like a 2 day application. ”
The judge was hearing the defendant’s application to strike out or for summary judgment. The application had been given a time estimate of 2 1/2 hours. It took considerably longer.
THE JUDGMENT ON THE TIME ESTIMATE
The judge observed that the time estimate was wholly inaccurate.
I should say something about the time estimate given for the hearing, if only to make yet one more plea for litigants and their lawyers to put forward realistic time estimates which, on an application like this, should allow time for an extempore judgment. When it was issued the Application included a time estimate of 2½ hours. That was not in my view a realistic time estimate having regard to the issues raised. A week before the hearing I agreed to extend the time estimate (albeit with a start time of 11am to allow for pre-reading) in the light of the significant amount of documentation exhibited to Ms Potgieter’s witness statement dated 4 October 2021. One of the skeleton arguments suggested 1½ hours should be allowed for pre-reading whereas it took about twice as long. Allowing for the 11am start and a lunch break, the hearing lasted until 4.45pm when Mr Stone concluded his submissions in reply. It must be obvious that even a relatively rudimentary extempore judgment addressing the significant points in this written one would probably have taken 2 hours or so to deliver and that after pause for some reflection upon the significant number of points to be addressed (and it will be even more obvious that preparing this written judgment has taken considerably longer). The Application issued with a 2½ hour time estimate was really more like a 2 day application.