Report No. 54
Examination of Parties by The Court
10.1. Examination of parties by the court at the first hearing or at subsequent hearings is dealt with in Order 10. The main object of examination at the first hearing is to ascertain how far the allegations made in the pleadings of one party are admitted or denied by the other. The object of this examination is not to elicit admissions or to bring into being evidence, but to ascertain what is the matter in dispute between the parties. Statements made at the examination are distinct from evidence given in a trial of fact. Nevertheless, if used properly, this examination is of the greatest importance in avoiding delay at later stages.
Earlier recommendation for examination at first hearing
10.2. The earlier Report made a useful recommendation1 as to examination at the first hearing being made compulsory. We agree, and would add that efforts at settlement should also be made at the first hearing. But only one adjournment for the purpose of effecting such settlement should be granted. No statutory provision in this respect (for encouraging settlement) is required for suits in general, but we hope that judicial officers will not lose sight of this aspect.
1. 27th Report, para. 29 and note on Order 10, rule 2.