Synopsis page limit to be enforced by High Court

by Sol Dolor02 Aug 2017
The High Court is about to become tougher on synopses of arguments in interlocutory hearings.

Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey John Venning said that he and other judges of the High Court agree that content and page limits set in an oft-flouted rule of the court should be enforced, the New Zealand Law Society reported.

“I have since discussed this with the judges of the High Court. They agree that the content and page limits set out in rule 7.39 ... should be enforced,” Venning said.

The comments come as members of the legal profession are increasingly concerned about the length of submissions and the size of bundles of authorities in interlocutory hearings, the Law Society said.

Venning said counsel should pay particular attention to two components of rule 7.39. He said the 10-page limit on synopses of submissions is “often ignored” and that counsel have increasingly included photocopies of every authority in the index, including those that counsel do not intend to ask the High Court to consider at the hearing.

“As the rule provides, only a list of authorities need be provided, not photocopies of the authorities themselves,” he said. “Where counsel wish to take a judge to specific passages within a particular judgment during argument the whole judgment could be provided, but it is otherwise unnecessary to create bundles of authorities the court will not be asked to open at the hearing.”

Venning, who said judges have been encouraged to enforce the rule “immediately,” also encouraged counsel to file electronic copies of synopses, which contain hyperlinks to relevant documents and authorities. He said this is not a requirement of the rules, but will aid in the efficient disposition of cases.

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