Practice Direction 51, Paragraph 19
1. The Vice-Chancellor is aware that, as a result of paragraph 19 of PD51 a large number of applications are being made to courts seeking "directions", but giving no details of precisely what directions are sought, or of the factual background of the case. These applications are being made in such numbers that it is impossible for some courts to deal with them at oral hearings before 26th April 2000, the cut-off date.
2. While each case must be a matter for individual judicial decision, the Vice-chancellor suggests that in the majority of such cases an order could be made referring the case to a procedural judge for directions to be made.
3. The Order should require the applicant by a set date to indicate the specific directions sought with reasons where appropriate; to obtain where possible the agreement of the other parties to the proposed directions, and if not, to indicate why this could not be done; to lodge a chronology and give sufficient information to enable the procedural judge to allocate the claim to a track, and to fix a trial date or trial window. The applicant would be informed that if, but only if, those directions were complied with by the set date, the application would be treated as having been heard on paper before 26th April for the purposes of paragraph 19(1) of PD51, thereby preventing the operation of the automatic stay.
4. The Vice-chancellor hopes that such a procedure will lead to a substantial saving of judicial time and time of court staff. There will be a further saving if this results in an agreed order for directions which the judge could also subsequently approve on paper.