A generally accurate description of what the track system is like for lawyers who use the system day in day out and raises the question of what or whom exactly is being tracked by the tracking system. You track what we’re saying?
When is fast not actually fast? Fast is not fast where the tracking system is concerned.
Many months into the fast track system, lawyers are becoming aware that the tracking system is only tracking the lawyers by ensuring their constant and long drawn presence in court. The tracking system still cannot ensure the fast disposal of the matters scheduled before court on a particular day.
Lawyers are seen waiting until late morning and sometimes into the afternoon just to take a date. Matters are fixed for case management monthly to ensure compliance with directions of the court. Directions of the court meaning the filing of written submissions even for simple applications that could be disposed off with a ten minute oral hearing. The case management system requires the attendance of the lawyers in court monthly to report their progress and compliance with directions.
The case management system requires lawyers to exchange affidavits and submissions but attend court on a case management date specifically to hand over the affidavits and submissions to court. This is necessary as the court staff currently employed are not sufficient to pick up these affidavits and submissions and ensure their proper placement in the respective files before the hearing or case management date.
The problem of the insufficient court staff is also the reason why none of the court documents are marked with enclosure numbers resulting in the Deputy Registrars having to help out by arranging the documents in a chronological order before giving all the documents enclosure numbers to ease reference during the hearing.
When matters are fixed for decisions, decisions do not necessarily mean decisions. Often decisions could mean oral submissions by the lawyers who have actually filed their exhaustive submissions earlier by attending in court several times prior to the date scheduled for decision. Oral submissions by the lawyers would be the lawyer reading out his submission to the judge or where so instructed, shortening his entire submission to several points. Often the lawyer is also required to explain the facts of the case to assist the Court.
Frequently, on dates fixed for decisions, the lawyers attending court to obtain their decisions will find that their files have been transferred to other courts and the decision not being ready wherein another date has to be obtained. This other date might be a hearing date wherein the lawyers might be required to submit referring to their exhaustive written submissions as a guide and where so instructed, shortening their entire submission to several points. This other date might be alternatively be a clarification date where the lawyers might be required to submit referring to their exhaustive written submissions as a guide and where so instructed, shortening their entire submission to several points.
Therefore while the lawyers are being tracked to an inch of their lives, the court system still seems to be moving at its usual pace. Lawyers are spending more and more time in Court.
Attending to look for their filed documents.
Attending to look for their files.
Attending to placing their affidavits in the file.
Attending to place their submissions in the file.
Attending to submit orally after having spent hours preparing written submissions.
Attending to inform court of their progress on the file.
Attending to take next date to execute the directions of Court.
Attending to conduct full trial until the late hours of the night.
Attending in the morning to be told to return in the afternoon.
Attending from outstation to be told that their matter will not be heard on that particular day.
Attending to be told that their matter will not go on as there are other priority matters.