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Report No. 188

The findings of the Maryland Task Force are as follows:

(1) Both the Maryland business and legal community desire an efficient, economical and hospitable forum for the administration of business and technology disputes in the circuit courts of Maryland State. The key to this forum is to assign Judges who can handle cases involving complex business and technology issues competently and in a timely manner, regardless of the geographic sites of the Court, the dispute, or even the parties.

(2) The experience of other States that have created business courts initially began with a perception that such cases were not being handled satisfactorily by the general jurisdiction of courts in those States. These deficiencies gave impetus to the creation of specialised business courts in those States which have taken various forms. These specialized courts have significantly improved the efficiency with which business cases have been disposed of in those States. None of these States, however, have created technology courts to specialize in the administration of disputes involving complex technology issues.

(3) None of the States which have created specialized business courts had implemented a 'differentiated case management' (DCM) or other system similar to that already adopted in Maryland. Even the witnesses who testified before the Task Force from other States acknowledge the significance of Maryland's DCM system in which complex cases, including business and technology cases, may be given increased attention.

(4) Although there is no crisis in the handling of business and technology cases in the Circuit Courts of Maryland State, there are significant opportunities for improvement. The substance of that improvement is more important than the form it might take. There, the benefits that have been documented from the experience of those States and localities which have instituted 'Business Courts', 'Business Division' or 'Business Case Management Programme' were inventoried by the Task Force without reference to whether a division, as such, was required.

(5) Potential Benefit of special procedures for the handling of substantive business and technology disputes include:

(a) Specialized training and education for those Judges with experience in business and technology issues, as well as the 39application of specialized case management techniques and technology for the handling of these cases.

(b) Greater efficiency resulting from the specialized training and education of Judges, clerks, and staff, as well as the application of the most modern technology, to the filing and processing of these cases.

(c) More timely, rational, legally correct and perhaps most importantly predictable rulings from judges who are better trained and educated in the relevant subject-matter, and comfortable in handling these cases.

(d) A higher rate of settlement of business and technology cases because of the increased correctness and predictability of an identifiable group of judges whose competency is certified by the requisite degree of judicial education and training and whose opinions are circulated on the Internet and other available media.

(e) Greater efficiencies in the disposition of other types of cases within the jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts because of the increased time available for them as a result of the removal of time-consuming business and technology cases from the general court docket.

(f) Instead of special Courts, it is sufficient to introduce a 'Business and Technology Management Programme'. There is an accelerated trend in the Bar towards specialization in commercial issues and if the cases they take up are before general trial Judges with neither the knowledge nor the time to devote to these cases, it will result in a level which is not acceptable or tolerable.

(g) The 'Business and Technology Case Management Programme' will be introduced by formulating (A) Organisation, (B) Assignment of cases to the Business & Technology Case Management Programme, (C) specifying actions not to be assigned to this Programme, (D) Case Management procedure.

(h) Expedited appeals are part of the scheme.

(i) ADR.

(j) Electronic filing.

(k) The Judicial Institute of Maryland, the entity charged with educating Judges in Maryland, in consultation with the Maryland State Bar Association, MICPEL, and the Universities of Maryland and Baltimore Law Schools, develop a programme for the training and continuing education of Judge, clerks and staff who will have duties assigned with the programme.

(l) The Business and Technology Case Management Programme to be put on the website so as to receive wide publicity.

(E) Appendix B to the Report of Task Force (Maryland) refers to the 'Experience of other States" in US. It states that in US

1. Ten States have operational 'business Court or 'tracks'-

Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Cardine, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

2. Two States have established 'Complex Litigation Courts' which hear, among other types of cases, complex business litigation - California and Connecticut

3. Fourteen States have had some form of discussion about establishing a 'business court', with some states creating 'task forces' to study the feasibility Arizona, Crovado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

(Twenty four States have no current plans).

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