Detailed assessments are continuing to be heard. Andrew McGee describes a successful hearing yesterday where the assessment was done by telephone.
A ONE DAY LONG ASSESSMENT
As is becoming more acceptable during this time of unprecedented upheaval, yesterday I undertook a detailed assessment by telephone, and I thought others might benefit from my sharing my experience.
The matter was listed for the full day prior to March 2020, and it took the day, but we did finish.
It proceeded fairly successfully from a procedural point of view. The bundle had not been prepared with a view to a telephone hearing (there had been two previous adjournments, for reasons having nothing to do with the virus) and the judge was left to rummage through the file (11 lever arch files) at times, which was not ideal, but both advocates kept their submissions short and well-directed, and the Judge took a broad-brush approach where appropriate – perhaps the pressures of conducting the hearing by telephone added to that.
The hearing started via BTConnect arranged by one of the parties, but we stopped for lunch, and the afternoon was conducted via BTMeetMe, with the Judge connecting the parties. Both systems worked without a hitch.
The usual task of doing the arithmetic at the end was greatly shortened because I had a spreadsheet of the bill, which I adjusted as the assessment proceeded. At the end, I e-mailed it to my opponent and Judge, and we were rapidly able to confirm the total costs allowed.
From my point of view this was all pretty successful. Perhaps not quite as efficient as an attended hearing, but I would have no qualms about conducting a detailed assessment remotely whilst the current restrictions on attended hearings prevail.