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Litigation Updates

First, the Master of the Rolls has issued a Practice Direction giving guidance on remote hearings. This includes guidance on electronic bundles and practicalities of attending hearings remotely.

It can be found here: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Remote-hearings.Protocol.Civil_.GenerallyApplicableVersion.f-amend-26_03_20-1.pdf

Secondly, in Muncipio de Mariana v (1) BHP Group Plc (7) BHP Group Ltd [2020] EWHC 928 (TCC) the High Court gave guidance on the approach to applications for adjournments and extensions due to Covid-19. In brief summary, the facts of this case concern the collapse of a dam in Brazil. The Defendants challenged the English Court’s jurisdiction and a hearing was listed to be heard in June 2020. The Defendants applied for an extension of time of five or six weeks in relation to service of their evidence. If the extension was granted, the hearing would need to be vacated. Practitioners in this position would be well advised to read this decision as HHJ Eyre QC set out in detail the principles applicable to extensions of time during the pandemic. The Judge emphasised the importance of continued administration of justice and that legal professionals could be expected to make appropriate use of technology. However, on the facts, he was persuaded that the extension should be granted and the hearing vacated and relisted as the Defendants had shown that, even allowing for the use of technology, the exercise of preparing the evidence in reply would take longer than had been allowed for in the timetable.

The decision can be found here

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