Case Management Tip One: Implementing Practice Directions
Practice directions are frequently used by courts as a means of providing guidance on practices courts expect parties will follow in preparing for and conducting court proceedings. Examples of practice directions issued by courts include: assistance for self-represented parties, use of electronic devices in the courtroom materials for use in court proceedings, and scheduling. Practice directions can also cover subject matter such as: decorum and cooperation between parties,contact information for the trial and motions coordinator, and how filing of voluminous materials with the court should be handled. Discipline Committees are not, of course, courts of law, they are administrative tribunals and as such creatures of their governing statute. However, Discipline Committees still retain broad leverage over dictating hearing process and procedure. In that regard, in addition to utilizing such tools as Rules of Procedure, practice directions are another means to facilitate smoother, more transparent and efficient discipline proceedings.
The following areas may easily lend themselves to being the subject matter of Discipline Committee practice directions:
scheduling of pre-hearings, motions and hearings
assistance for unrepresented members/registrants
electronic exchange of materials