April CPR updates

It is that time of year again when practitioners know something is lurking just around the corner but the full details have yet to be released and there is a tension in the air as to what impact it will have – yes the April CPR changes are in sight.

Last year saw the Jackson Reforms being implemented, so what does this year have in store? Well, there will be four lots of changes and some have yet to be released yet, so the intention here is to give you an insight into what is happening rather than a detailed review.

1 April 2014: Mediation Service

Changes are being brought in for claims which would normally be allocated to the small claims track to be referred to the Mediation Service.

Note: the Mediation Service is the Small Claims Mediation Service operated by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service.

Previously this ran as a pilot scheme but will now be found in CPR 26 as new rule CPR 26.4A.  The parties will be asked in their directions questionnaire whether they agree to mediation.  If they all agree the case will be referred to the Mediation Service.  The mediation will then take place very quickly, ie within four weeks, and so if dealing with a case that falls within this new provision it will be important to make sure you are in a position to mediate when you file your questionnaire.  If the court is not been notified in writing that a settlement has been agreed, the claim will be allocated to a track no later than four weeks from the date on which the last directions questionnaire is filed.

 Note: The Mediation Service referral will not apply to RTAs, personal injury, housing disrepair claims or a claim in which any party to the proceedings does not agree to referral to the Mediation Service.

6 April 2014: Enforcement

Widespread changes are being made to provisions dealing with enforcement.  This is as a consequence of provisions within the TCEA 2007 coming into force which deal with enforcement agents when taking control of and selling goods.  In addition the Act took the opportunity to unify terminology that has been used in various legislation over the years dealing with issue of enforcement.

The main changes will be four new Parts dealing with:

Part 83: Writs and warrants – general provisions

Part 84: Enforcement by taking control of goods

Part 85: Claims in controlled goods and executed goods

Part 86: stakeholder claims and applications

In addition, to the new Parts there will be amendments to CPR provisions to consolidate enforcement provisions which, until now, have been set out in some of the RSC Orders and practice directions together with the CCR orders.  Examples include a new CPR 70.2A which incorporates RSC 45, rule 8 dealing with the court being able to order that an act be done at the expense of the disobedient party.

As a consequence of this some of the RSC Orders and practice directions together with the CCR orders will become obsolete.

In addition,  an SI dealing with the Certification of Enforcement Agents will also come into force.

22 April 2014: Costs and the new County Court

This sees two different changes to the CPR provisions.

Costs

There is a change to the statement of truth to be included in the costs budget (Precedent H).  This amendment was originally stated to come into force on 6 April but it is important to note that the date has been changed to 22 April.

The statement of truth will read ‘This budget is a fair and accurate statement of incurred and estimated costs which it would be reasonable and proportionate for my client to incur in this litigation.'

It is understood that a further SI dealing with costs budgeting and the exemption will be coming into force on 22 April as well.  At the time of writing the relevant SI has not be published.

County Court

The Crime and Courts Act 2013 established a single county court which will be located in various locations throughout England and Wales ie similar to the way in which the High Court works. The introduction of the new County Court has required many consequential amendments to the CPR.  The date for implementation of these changes is the date on which the Act comes into force.  At the time of writing the intended date is 22 April.

Date yet to be determined: planning court

At the time of writing it is understood there will be a further SI dealing with the planning court.  To date no further information is available.

As soon as we have further information we will update you accordingly.

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