In a recent case, the High Court has rejected a party’s application to adjourn a five-week trial that is due to commence in June this year, where that would have meant a year’s delay before the trial could be held: In the matter of One Blackfriars Ltd  EWHC 845 (Ch).
The decision underlines the courts’ determination to continue to hear cases where it is possible to do so safely and fairly through the use of technology. The fact that a case involves significant sums, a lengthy trial and multiple witnesses will not necessarily prevent the court deciding to hold the trial remotely.
It was relevant, in this case, that there were large numbers of contemporaneous documents dealing with the relevant events, and there were no allegations of dishonesty or fraud. Although each case will turn on its facts, and the judge in each case will have a broad discretion as to how to proceed, a remote trial may be considered less suitable where there are such allegations, or where there are few contemporaneous documents such that everything turns on the oral evidence.
For more information see this post on our Litigation Notes blog.
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