A Pilot for a telephone-summons procedure for Mercantile Lists has got off to an inauspicious start, with no bookings for its first week.
The pilot was due to start on 2 September in the Liverpool and Manchester Mercantile Lists to benefit law firms located 10 miles away from the court.
The procedure is aimed at summonses expected to last 20 minutes or less. Solicitors, counsel and judges will communicate by conference call for a predetermined time, and the cost will be treated as part of the summons costs for the purpose of taxation.
The scheme is designed to make it easier and cheaper for lawyers working outside Liverpool and Manchester.
But many lawyers said they had not heard of the service.
Paul Thomas, head of commercial litigation at Manchester firm Halliwell Landau, knew nothing of the service but said it was an excellent idea. "Telephones summonses are used successfully in the US. They save an enormous amount of time."