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01 May 2020

Update on the Commercial Hub from The Honourable Mr Justice Horner

 Statement from the Commercial List Judge 

The Commercial Hub is open for business.  Obviously there is a problem given the current lockdown and social distancing in oral hearings taking place in the Commercial Court given its present configuration. 

However, the Hub is prepared to consider any reasonable suggestion for hearing cases and/or applications.  I have just recently heard an application to enforce an adjudication award on the papers alone.  It worked successfully. 

It is important that the commercial community in Northern Ireland do not feel that they are being ignored at this difficult time. 

Solicitors and the Bar and clients should be prepared to be innovative and imaginative and collaborative in agreeing directions for hearings and how those hearings should be shaped. 

As the Commercial Judge I will hear applications in cases remotely and I am prepared to hear cases remotely.  I will do everything reasonable to ensure that business is done at the Hub.  We are in the process of amending the practice direction to provide for remote hearings.

It is obviously in everyone’s interests that commercial life returns to normal as soon as possible.  The court, the clients, counsel and solicitors should all be working to that goal.  In the meantime the Hub is determined that it will play a full part in supporting Northern Ireland’s business community by providing a bespoke  dispute resolution service tailored to the present circumstances.

The Hon Mr.Justice Horner

30 April 2020


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