Form N181

Form N181, a Directions Questionnaire, is sent to both defendants and claimants in multi-track and fast-track court cases to deliver instructions (directions) to all parties. The form is sent to the parties’ legal representatives or to the party themselves if they are acting as litigants in person (without legal representation). Before a hearing can take place, the judge needs to decide how to prepare the case. Each claim is assigned to a ‘track’ – either multi-track or fast-track depending on the case’s complexity and value. The form helps to determine which track the claim will be assigned to and what directions to issue. The document will specify a time and date by which it must be returned to a specified court. It also lays out the need for parties to attempt to settle outside of court and asks the parties why their case should be heard at court if they refuse to settle. It asks the parties to list any witnesses they wish to call, and asks which dates the claimant, defendant, and witnesses may not be available so that the judge can schedule an appropriate hearing date. Whether both parties return their forms by the specified deadline or not, the court file is immediately transferred to the judge who allocates the case to a track or orders that the party who did not return the form should come to court and explain why they did not comply with the legal request. The non-compliant party may be ordered to pay the other side’s costs relating to attending the hearing.

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