Greater access to the courts

Before civil proceedings in the High Court are commenced or once commenced, in the period before trial, it is possible to make an urgent interim application to a judge.  It might be made, for instance, to protect property from sale (known as a ‘freezing order’), or to obtain or prevent disclosure of confidential information.

The procedure is conducted pursuant to Part 23 and Part 25 of the Civil Procedure Rules and their Practice Directions 23A and 25A.  If really urgent, the court may allow an application to be made without notice being given to another party and in some circumstances, even heard over the telephone.

With thanks to Wilberforce Chambers for drawing this to our attention, the Insolvency and Companies Court has, as with other branches of the High Court, introduced with immediate effect an Interim Applications Court.  Applications will be heard on Thursdays, Fridays and every other Monday and the list will be run in the same way as the High Court Judges’ Interim Applications Court.  The latter remains unaffected by the introduction of the new interim applications court.

It is intended that the new list will be used to hear applications for, for instance, an injunction to restrain the presentation of a petition to wind up a company or to appoint a provisional liquidator.  The courts have made it clear the “Applications with a time estimate of more than two hours (including pre-reading time, judgement and consequentials) are generally not suitable for the ICC Interim Applications Court.”

Such applications are with the purpose of enabling greater access to the courts and it is hoped this aim will be achieved.

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