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BLS Administrative Directive 17-1: Broadening the Scope of the BLS

The Superior Court updated its Administrative Directive governing the BLS to broaden the scope of the types of cases that the BLS will preside over. This new directive signifies that the BLS is open to hearing almost any complex civil case—not just quintessential business cases.

Effective March 1, 2017, Administrative Directive 17-1 superseded the eight-year-old Administrative Directive 09-1. One key element of the new directive is a revamped BLS civil action cover sheet, with a revised list of the types of cases that the BLS will accept. Specifically, the court revised category k.1 from “other commercial claims involving complex issues or that require close case management” to “other claims involving complex issues or that require close case management . . . .” By striking the word “commercial,” the BLS signaled its willingness to, in appropriate circumstance, hear non-business cases, so long as they involve complex issues or require close case management.

The Superior Court Department was no doubt motivated, at least in part, by the high caseload of the regular civil sessions throughout the state (there are currently a number of unfilled judicial vacancies at the Superior Court level) and the somewhat lower caseload and greater availability of the BLS judges.

So, if your case is complex or will require active management from the trial judge, consider the BLS—even if it is not a prototypical “business” case.  

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