2021 archived consultation: Case Management Meetings - Post-Pilot Review
18 Jun 2021
14 May 2021
This consultation was previously hosted on our consultation hub. We have moved it here as part of archiving.
We asked stakeholders to provide feedback on the case management process, following the conclusion of the pilot which ended on 30 April 2021.
The process was designed to minimise delays that can arise during the pre-hearing preparation period, which led to hearing dates being vacated, and at the hearing stage, where valuable time is often spent dealing with preliminary matters which can ordinarily be resolved before the hearing.
As part of this process, we expected to facilitate up to two discussions between hearing parties. These discussions would take place remotely, via a conference call
We anticipated the first conference call would be held around three months from the date of Rule 29 disclosure on the Registrant.
The second conference call was expected to take place four to six weeks prior to the first day of the substantive hearing.
The general feedback was that the case management process was a positive proposal to assist with the timely management of cases. There were some minor elements that could be tweaked in order to achieve the best outcomes.
The general feedback suggested:
The Case Management Meeting plan
The meetings are an excellent opportunity for the parties to raise any issues that would ordinarily be left to a much later stage. It encourages parties to plan ahead and agree matters before the hearing.
The Hearings Questionnaire
The Hearings questionnaire is a useful and effective case management tool, in ascertaining availability and mode of hearing. There is some information specified in the document which the defence are unable to provide at an early stage, but do not consider it to be an issue.
Case management meeting effectiveness could be increased if there was a clear focus on how the APD process will work in suitable cases.
The conference call record
Full consensus that the case management meeting conference call records were a helpful summary for both parties and in particular unrepresented registrants.
Records are generally adequately reflective of the discussion, clear and helpful summaries of the call.
Noted lack of timetabling to resolve some issues. Clear deadlines are needed to enable the process to be effective.
Timings of the Call
Generally, there was some consensus in relation to the current timeframes for calls. This included meetings to be held at three months from the date of disclosure and/or four to six weeks prior to the start date of the substantive hearing so that issues could be resolved.
Four weeks before a hearing was considered by some to be too late.
There was strong agreement that a case management meeting is useful tool for all hearing types.
Overall, the benefits of having a case management meeting even if no issues arise are likely to outweigh any time implication concerns and are likely to be helpful at avoiding delays.
We reviewed the feedback from the plan and associated documents, and decided whether to accept, reject or incorporate the feedback in an adapted form.
The following amendments have been agreed:
We propose to launch the revised case management process in September 2021.
We have reviewed the timings of the call. We will offer the first call at three months from the date of disclosure by the GOC to the Registrant. If parties are unable to hold meaningful discussions at this stage, a call will be offered at around six weeks prior to the start date of the substantive hearing so that a clear timetable can be set when issues need to be resolved.
A case management meeting will be arranged for all substantive hearing types, with the exception of conviction only cases which will fall outside of this policy.
A call will be arranged at the three month stage so that a clear timetable can be set for agreed panel disposal hearings.
We will organise further training to assist the team in effectively managing and timetabling issues.
This survey seeks stakeholder views in relation to the case management meeting process, following the conclusion of the pilot which ended on 30 April 2021.
The process was designed to minimise delays that can arise during the pre-hearing preparation period, which has led to hearing dates being vacated, and at the hearing stage, where valuable time is often spent dealing with preliminary matters which can ordinarily be resolved before the hearing.
The primary focus was too:
- Facilitate the effective running of GOC hearings
- Encourage both parties to prepare their cases and co-operate with each other in order to keep delays to a minimum
- Minimise the stress on the Registrant/witnesses at a hearing by setting up an effective channel of communication during the pre-hearing period and seeking agreement about a number of key issues.
As part of this process, we expected to facilitate up to two discussions between hearing parties. These discussions would take place remotely, and over the telephone.
We anticipated the first telephone conference would be held around three months from the date of Rule 29 disclosure on the Registrant.
The second telephone conference was expected to take place four to six weeks prior to the first day of the substantive hearing.
A review of the process, has identified that all calls that have taken place over the last year, occurred four to six weeks prior to the first date of the hearing.
Why your views matter
We would like to hear your views on the process to help us develop and finalise the case management meeting plan.
We encourage you to provide as much information as possible.