One of my aims this evening was to knock out a few words on those parts of the newly-published Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review as relate to case management and disclosure of documents, before moving on to one of the many other topics which warrant discussion.
Two hours later, I have done no more than draft an appreciation of its broad approach to mediation, case management and the use of technology and have run out of time and space for the section on documents as evidence. It is good, thoughtful stuff, but even though I skipped the sections which do not concern me, the evening has gone.
I will take it in stages, as time allows. Meanwhile, the link above will at least fulfil my obligation to show you where to find it. Those whose business revolves round the mechanics of document-handling tend to overlook that all this technology is merely servant to a wider purpose, namely access to justice and the efficient disposal of disputes. One of the problems in the courts of England & Wales (and even more so in the US) is that the focus concentrates on compliance with the formal disclosure / discovery rules at the expense of what is actually more fundamental – helping lawyers to get to the issues and the evidence quickly and cost-effectively.
The Scottish position, and the careful explanation in the Report, also illuminates the debate about judicial resources – are judges supposed to be legally-skilled case managers or merely midwives to mediation? What will restore litigation to its proper position in the commercial armoury? What is the minimum amount of documentary evidence needed to find justice, and what is the quickest way of getting to it?
More follows in due course, not necessarily this side of my imminent visits to Washington and Singapore.