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Judge not minded to accept the “unnecessary and impossible” line particularly as there was evidence that problems with Horizon were withheld from Subpostmasters.
Judge saying the claimants will be entitled to disclosure and that entitlement cannot be challenged. Now discussion about the scheduling. Judge says the standard disclosure, review, further dislosure, review process is not conducive to the 10 months left before R3
PO QC says he cannot give disclosure without pleadings. Judge is proposing an expedited process. PO QC says JFSA is fishing for documents with a view to altering pleadings. J: “I am astute to the dangers of fishing expeditions."
Judge orders disclosure first then says JFSA must plead on breach for Pam Stubbs and Naushad Abdulla.
JFSA QC “I’m trying to understand the impact of it.”
J: That’s your job.
JFSA QC: “I think that’s clear.”
J: “Good."
J: “You’re trying to get me to give you a specific direction in advance as to how to plead your case, which I am not in a position to do."
J: “On the basis that we’re going to have a two stage disclosure, then a pleading by you [JFSA], then a pleading by the PO, and then there’s going to have to be some witness evidence…”
J now looking at scheduling of pleadings, defences etc
It looks like one of the PO’s arguments will be that a lot of these cases are outside the statute of limitations as that is one of the things that will be examined.
PO QC: Dates are reasonable, but the starting point isn’t. Wants pleadings well before 22 May.

PO QC: One half of this case is that the computer didn't work and the other is that you terminated incorrectly, and there are claims of money attached to both.
PO QC arguing that the learning from the Horizon trial should go into the third trial in order for it to be “worth the candle”.
JFSA QC nodding.
J: One can’t ignore the fact that the Horizon trial starts on 11 March and the PO has two teams working at the moment - your team and the horizon team...
PO QC: My Lord, that’s not fair - my learned friend’s team has at the last count 5 barristers and how he chooses to split...
… them is up to him.
J: No matter how many junior counsel on each side there are two PO teams led by senior counsel but Mr Green is one senior counsel and he will be leading the Horizon trial.

This is an argument about workload - Mr Green [JFSA] wants the time to prepare for
… R3 after Horizon. The PO don’t necessarily need it as they have a different senior barrister (Mr De Garre-Robinson QC) doing the Horizon trial, so Mr Cavender can focus on R3.
J orders individual particulars of claim to be made by 15 May.
J orders defences 17 June (as PO QC says presumably we are dealing with issues of concealment and fraud)
J orders claimant replies by 8 July and says we will have to interleave disclosure schedule into that.
These will be pleadings on breach for R3.

J says issues for trial in R3 have to be settled by end July.
Parties have until noon on 15 July to agree issues. There will be another CMC on Tue 23 July unless it is not required.
J says he will accept JFSA proposal for request-led disclosure rather than PO strategy [which would preclude a lot of the docs which came out under the last trial].
Now discussing 4th trial. PO QC says his “dream” of a 12 week “omnibus” trial. But accepts this might be too much.
This trial will have a bigger group of claims and and issues.
JFSA QC says agree we don’t want a standing start in November, but it’s not a binary choice to order a trial today. Not against trying to get an over-view of the claimants. We think this is too early by about a month.
J: dates or process?
JFSA QC: process
J: yes but we can’t keep having CMCs in this case it just costs everyone too much money.
JFSA wants to see the Common Issues (first trial) judgement before they start thinking about shaping the fourth trial.
J says understands JFSA want to see first trial judgment and at ideally Horizon trial before anything is set in stone BUT J issues an order saying there will be a 4th trial starting Spring 2020
ie Feb or March. And J orders parties to make further discussion and to agree dates and how that trial should proceed.
Costs being discussed, but only formatting and presentation of them. No figures discussed in court!
Now moving on to Horizon trial schedule.
J: No secret as things stand the UK is leaving the EU. There is an element of management planning going on within the courts involving people more senior than me as we may have a resourcing issue.
J asking that court sits on 11 March and there is no sitting on w/c 25 March as Britain leaves the EU, so that there is more judicial capacity available should it be needed.
So Horizon trial sitting days will be 4 days from w/c 11 March
4 days w/c 18 March
no sitting w/c 25 March
4 days w/c 1 April
and final 4 days w/c 8 April
Sounded like first two weeks will be expert evidence and final two weeks will be matters of fact.

Judge has risen. That’s the end of CMC. There will be a piece up on postofficetrial.com before the end of the day.
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