The Commercial Bar has been criticised specifically for failing to promptly draw up orders – vital duties placed on lawyers and barristers to ensure cases can move forward efficiently.
Barristers interviewed by The Lawyer said they had experienced parties taking weeks to draw up orders. Two days is usually the accepted time limit.
Orders are interpretations of judges' oral decisions by parties. They exist to ensure parties fully understand judgments, and are requested by judges after interlocutories and main trials.
Michael Brindle QC, chairman of the Commercial Bar Association (Combar), has written to all Combar members requesting they address the issue raised by Mr Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Colman at the last meeting of the Commercial Court Committee. Brindle wrote: “[Late delivery of orders] means judges who have forgotten what they intended to order having the difficult and embarrassing job of trying to decide whether to approve or not what is ultimately submitted.
“[I urge] that we should all be more prompt hereafter in carrying out this important function.”
Delays can be caused by the order being complicated, or the fact that one side has several interested parties to whom the draft orders have to be sent. Complex orders can also result in disagreement between parties.
One barrister said: “I inherited a case where I know the order made on the prior occasion had taken weeks to be sorted out. They really should take no longer than two days so they remain fresh in the judge's memory.”