Appeal judges should spend less time in court says Bowman review

Sir Jeffery Bowman's year-long review of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), published last week, calls for many appeals to be relegated to the lower courts, time limits for oral argument and more judicial case management.

In a report that mirrors Lord Woolf's report into the whole civil justice system, Bowman also recommends that judges spend more time reading and less time sitting in court, and that “realistic” timetables are set for cases.

The report also asks for the appointment of a single administrative head, to be accountable to Michael Huebner, chief executive of the Court Service, and with responsibility for every staff member in the Civil Appeals Office.

The report also stresses the importance of information technology, recommending that an “appropriate IT infrastructure” be installed so that judges can e-mail each other in court.

Richard Susskind, author of The Future of Law and also one of the report's authors, told The Lawyer that he thought the report would be “an important test-bed for numerous advanced applications of technology.” He also commented that the review as a whole would have implications for the lower courts.

The report's other authors include Woolf and Huebner.