Solicitors’ responsibilities in Court of Appeal directions hearings

Litigation 05/02/2016

The Litigation Committee wishes to draw the attention of practitioners to important measures that apply to civil appeals before the Court of Appeal.

When issuing a notice of appeal in a civil case, the solicitor will receive a return date for a directions hearing before the Court of Appeal (order 86A, rule 13(5) RSC). Solicitors acting for the appellant must, unless otherwise directed, lodge a directions booklet for the use of the court, not later than four days before the date assigned for the directions hearing. This booklet must include:

  • The judgment and/or order appealed from,
  • The notice of expedited appeal, or notice of appeal, as the case may be,
  • Every respondent’s notice delivered, and
  • Any other document in the appeal to which any party proposes to refer to at the directions hearing.

Recently, failure by solicitors to lodge an appropriate directions booklet within the time provided for in the rules has led to the making of costs orders against the solicitors personally.

It is also important to be aware that “the solicitor responsible for the conduct of the appeal” and counsel instructed in the appeal must attend the directions hearing (order 86A, rule 16(2) and 16(3) RSC).

 Particular attention should also be given to order 86A, rule 16(3), which provides: “Each counsel and solicitor attending the directions hearing shall ensure that he is sufficiently familiar with the proceedings, and has authority from the party he represents to deal with any matters that are likely to be dealt with at the directions hearing.”