Form N181 is divided into in to 11 parts labelled A to K these sections deal with the following:
Part A: Settlement
Generally speaking this section deals with whether the parties have considered settling the matter, parties are reminded of their obligations under the CPR 1998, namely that they should have considered settling the case. There is a box on the form that questions whether the legal representative for the client has explained the benefits of settlement and the potential costs sanctions for failure to consider the same.
Part B: Court
This section deals with whether the parties feel that a matter should be dealt with at a particular Court.
Part C: Pre-Action Protocol
Part C is concerned with parties have complied with the relevant pre-action protocol and if they have not they need to explain the reasons for this.
Part D: Case Management
In general this section deals with various matters on case management such as whether the parties have made any applications to the court (i.e. for summary judgement etc). Further if a party does not agree with the provisional allocation of a case they should set out the reasons for objecting to the same in this section. In simple terms, the basic criteria for allocation is the value of the claim, (disregarding interest, costs and other matters). However if there is a counterclaim for a larger sum, the value of the counterclaim has prominence.
Part E: Use of experts
The parties should indicate whether they consider it necessary to use an expert at trial and if so provide details regarding the same.
Part F: Use of witnesses
The details surrounding witnesses of fact that are due to attend a future hearing should be indicated here, the legal representatives also need to indicate the evidence each witness purposes to provide.
Part G: Trial
The parties must give a realistic indication on how long the trial will last (with a indication on how long they think it will take the judge to review all the documents and give judgement.
Part H: Costs budgets
If a case is likely to be allocated to the multi-track, the legal representatives must serve and file a costs budget.
Part I: Fee for filing
The correct fee must be paid for the filing of the questionnaire.
Part J: Other relevant information
If any of the parties intend to make applications in the near future, they must state the purpose of the same. Parties may also include further information they believe is relevant to assist the judge.
Part K: Directions
Ideally the parties must agree proposed directions, however regardless of whether or not the draft directions are agreed, they must be filed by a certain deadline with the allocation questionnaire.
There is an example set of specimen directions on the Ministry of Justice’s website (note all multi track draft directions must be based on these specimens).