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“We need to grasp today’s technology tools to provide better, cheaper and faster justice for the people of Northern Ireland.” – Mr Justice Horner
The Lady Chief Justice and Mr Justice Horner have launched the revised Commercial Hub Practice Direction. During a public webinar on 10 February 2022 they provided an overview of the recent changes and stressed the role of technology and collaboration in the modernisation of the courts service.
Practice Direction No.1 of 2019 has been revoked and replaced by Practice Direction No.1 of 2022 from the 1 February 2022. It applies to commercial actions in which proceedings have been, or are issued before, on or after this date and is mandatory from 17 March 2022.
This work is part of the joint vision of the OLCJ, the Department of Justice and the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunal Service which promises “changes to practice and procedures supported by new and innovative technology.”
Reflecting on the changes to our working practices enforced by the pandemic, the Lady Chief Justice commented, “We look forward to more normality but I hope that we utilise technology in a hybrid way to create efficiencies. This is particularly useful for solicitors working outside of Belfast as there is a saving of time and cost.”
Mr Justice Horner strongly emphasised that “stagnation is not an option. We need to grasp today’s technology tools to provide better, cheaper and faster justice for the people of Northern Ireland.” He warned, “If you are not part of this revolution, you will be left behind. The future is digital.”
He noted the forthcoming Practice Directions in relation to eBundles and eDiscovery which will “transform the process.” He stated, “This is ground-breaking. We want to make Northern Ireland the envy of other jurisdictions.”
The changes include:
These new Practice Directions will significantly change the user experience of the courts service, with greater utilisation of legal technology and innovation. Without doubt, this emphasis on maximising the use of cutting-edge technology will lead to exciting times ahead for NI legal practitioners.
Our specialist Dispute Resolution and Legal Technology teams at Cleaver Fulton Rankin are happy to assist you. We offer a unique combination of expertise in litigation matters and a specialist Legal Technology Group who can provide expert eDiscovery support. For further information, please contact Jeanette Donohoe or Kerry McCloy.
This article has been produced for general information purposes, and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. For advice or information, please contact our Legal Technology and Dispute Resolution teams at Cleaver Fulton Rankin.