THE RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT
(AMENDMENT) RULES, 2004

Section 76 of the Supreme Court Act, Chapter 53 provides that the Rules Committee of the Supreme Court may make rules to govern proceedings under the Supreme Court Act. These Rules amend the Rules of the Supreme Court. These Rules have already been published in the Extraordinary Gazette dated June 8, 2004 as Statutory Instrument 44 of 2004 and shall come into operation on July 1, 2004. The principal Rules are amended by these Rules being inserted immediately after Order 31. This Order of the amending Rules is Order 31A which deals with case management by the Supreme Court.

The case management system to be conducted by the Supreme Court is a new procedure where the court would actively manage cases before the matter is heard by trial. In this case management system, the court would encourage the parties to co-operate with each other in order to identify any issues that could be disposed of before a trial. The parties are urged to use any appropriate method of dispute resolution so that all or part of their case could be settled on terms that are acceptable and fair to all parties. A dispute resolution conference would be conducted by the Registrar or a judge of the Supreme Court so that the parties can settle the dispute between them without going to trial.

Where a dispute resolution conference fails, a Supreme Court judge would preside over a case management conference. The court would give directions for parties to prepare for a trial by disclosure and inspection of certain documents, statements of witnesses, facts, issues and the complex matters in the case as well as any expert reports. The judge would further direct if the trial should be held before a judge or a judge with a jury. The judge must further decide if a pre-trial review is necessary. The judge would then fix a trial date. A listing questionnaire is to be completed by the parties to facilitate the directions mentioned above that have to be made by the judge. There is a set time period to fill out and hand in this questionnaire to the Registry.

A court has to determine at a case management conference if a pre-trial review should be held to assist the court in dealing with the proceedings. A pre-trial memorandum must be filed by the parties before a date fixed for the review. This memorandum is to have a brief statement of the proceedings, admissions made and statements of issues.

At a pre-trial review the court would give directions as to the conduct of the trial to expedite matters and save costs. The directions of the court would include the provisions of further information to parties, the filing of skeleton arguments, a list of authorities, bundles, agreed statement of facts and any specialist areas of the law.

Thus, these Rules provide a means for the Supreme Court and the parties who have issues before it to have an opportunity before the trial to settle these issues. If these issues are not settled, then the case management system of the Court would hold a conference or pre-trial review in order to set down the pertinent matters for trial in a concise and timely manner to expedite these matters before the court.