Judge: Lawyers should inform court in advance if cases are settled before remote hearings

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore was speaking as four motions for discovery in a complex commercial case were settled today.

Lawyers who settle cases set for remote hearing before the High Court should inform the court in advance so another case can take the slot, a High Court judge has said.

Mr Justice Brian O’Moore was speaking as four motions for discovery in a complex commercial case were settled today.

The judge said no criticism was being levelled against any of the parties in the case before him but he was speaking as this was the first remote hearing before him to have settled.

Traditionally lawyers for parties in a legal action would tell the court on the scheduled day of the hearing if the case was going on or not.

Referring to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the judge said it was through the trojan work of the Chief Justice and the President of the High Court that remote hearings are now taking place.

If the matter is set for a remote hearing can be resolved, the judge said it should be conveyed in a timely manner to the court so other parties can be offered the opportunity of a hearing.

'Not just practitioners, but also judges'

Remote hearings, he said, bring with them their own sense of discipline and he warned that providing law authorities to be considered by the court and read by the judge one and a half hours before a scheduled remote hearing is not satisfactory.

“We are all learning, not just practitioners, but also judges,’ Mr Justice O’Moore said.

The case set for remote haring before the judge was where travel agency Trailfinders is suing three former employees and a rival firm claiming they allegedly took preparatory steps before resigning to use the company's trade secrets to set up in competition with the rival.

Trailfinders, Dawson Street, Dublin, is part of the Trailfinders Group which employs 1,000 throughout the UK and Ireland and specialises in the provision of travel packages tailored to the individual requirements of customers.

It has brought Commercial Court proceedings against rival firm, Cork-based Travel Counsellors (Ireland) Ltd (TCIL) and against Liam Higgins of Pleasant Street, Portobello, Jamie Thomas, Derrynane Gardens, Sandymount, and Simon Armstong, Halliday Square, Arbour Hill, all In Dublin.

All the claims are denied.

Counsel for Trailfinders Cian Ferriter told the remote hearing that four discovery motions before the court had been resolved.

He said it had been agreed an independent expert will review data based material linked to the case.

Referring to the resolving of the discovery matter before the court, Counsel said peace had only broken out at the last minute.

Counsel for Travel Counsellors Michael Howard SC said the issues between the parties had only resolved late the night before.

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