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Report No. 188

(D) Maryland:

(See Maryland Business and Technology Court, Task Force Report: created by House Bill 15. Chapter 10 of the Maryland Acts of 2000)

In Maryland, the Commercial Court is called the 'Business and Technology Court'. The Report of the Task Force recommended:

"establishing a statewide programme with specially trained judges and mediators to resolve substantial disputes affecting business entities, including the unique and specialized issues involving technology. The Task Force considered a separate court division within only certain counties, but concluded that creating local specialized courts was not needed or desired by many Judges and lawyers and would unfairly discriminate against business entities located in other areas of the State.

The Task Force reviewed different models of 'business courts' implemented in other jurisdictions. Recognizing the effectiveness of Maryland's Differentiated Case Management (DCM) system, the Task Force concluded that a 'programme' based, in part, on different models of business courts in other states would best take advantage of the current DCM system, while providing a unique and specialized forum for handling business and technology disputes". It said:

"In the competitive national market for business, establishment of such a programme will serve to increase Maryland's reputation as a place where disputes involving substantial business interest are effectively and efficiently resolved, thus increasing Maryland's reputation as a favourable forum."

The Task Force pointed out that in the light of significant advances brought about by not only the internet, but also the bioscience, aerospace, and information technology industries, to name a few, the business environment was changing at light speed. Business models that couldn't have even been imagined a few years ago are now commonplace. These technological advancements have, however, created interesting dilemmas for all three branches of federal and state governments. It said:

"The role of the judiciary is even more problematic since its role is by design more re-active than pro-active. Judges will be confronted with new and unique issues never before seen as a result of emerging technology and new business models. Judicial decisions will have to look forward to the potential impact of technology, as well as back to established legal precedent. The Judiciary can nevertheless take a leadership role in the development of new rules and establishments in its functions to adapt to these new challenges. Just as our judicial system created the statewide District Court system and the nationally regarded DCM system, the pressure to change offers the Judiciary an opportunity to forge its own adaptive institutions."

Maryland's General Assembly had passed House Bill 15 establishing the Task Force to consider the feasibility of the establishment of a specialized Court to function effectively and to efficiently administer business and technology disputes.

The Task Force recommended ADR programme, Electronic Filing, Case management and Expedited Appeal process - by way of special rules.

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