CPR changes: November and December 2015

CPR changes: November and December 2015

typingMore upcoming CPR changes have been announced, as set out in Civil Procedure (Amendments No. 5) Rules 2015 and the 82nd Update PD Making Document. The changes centre on making better use of technology when dealing with the courts. The new Electronic Working pilot scheme extends the current scheme for the TCC to all courts with the Rolls Building jurisdictions.

New Electronic Working pilot scheme (CPR PD 51O)

Date in force: Monday 16 November 2015.

The Electronic Working pilot scheme will operate for one year. The new voluntary scheme will be found in Practice Direction 51O. It effectively extends the existing pilot scheme currently in CPR PD 51J, which was limited to the Technology and Construction Court, through to all Rolls Building jurisdictions, ie the Technology and Construction Court along with the Chancery Division, the Commercial Court, the Mercantile Court and the Admiralty Court.

The scheme will apply not only to proceedings commenced on or after 16 November 2015 but also existing proceedings.

The Electronic Working pilot scheme will work within and be subject to all the statutory provisions and procedural rules and practice directions which apply to the specific proceedings unless excluded or amended by the pilot scheme itself.

The pilot scheme states that practitioners will also need to give careful consideration to the relevant court guides—it is unlikely that these will be updated for the purposes of the pilot scheme and so the possibility of inconsistencies between the guides and the pilot scheme should be borne in mind.

The pilot scheme sets issues such as how to provide documents to the court in an electronic format, the size of documents allowed, the format of such documents and the court fees associated with the filing of the specific document.

Note: CPR PD 51J will be replaced by the new scheme.

County Court case management changes (CPR 26.2A and CPR PD 3.3)

Date in force: Thursday 3 December 2015.

CPR rule amendment

The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 5) Rules 2015 set out the amendments to CPR 26.2A, paras 2–5. This rule applies where the claim is for an amount of money in the County Court, specified or unspecified.

The amendments are twofold. First, they differentiate between a County Court claim for a specified sum of money and other claims:

  • specified sum of money—the claim will be sent to the defendant’s local hearing centre, if and when a hearing is required, if the defendant is an individual
  • other claims—the claim will be sent to the claimant’s preferred hearing centre (previously reference was to the preferred court) as indicated on the claim form or directions questionnaire

Second, the amendments seek to make clear where claims must be sent when:

  • a claimant specifies on the directions questionnaire an alternative hearing centre to that indicated on the claim form
  • the defendant indicates on the directions questionnaire an alternative hearing centre to the hearing centre local to their address

The amended version of rule 26.2A will provide as follows:

'(2)  If '(2)  If at any time a court officer considers that the claim should be referred to a judge for directions, the court officer may send the proceedings to the defendant’s home court or the preferred hearing centre or other County Court hearing centre, or such other court as may be appropriate

(3) Subject to paragraph (5), if the defendant is an individual and the claim is for a specified sum of money, at the relevant time the claim must be sent to the defendant's home court (save that where there are two or more defendants, one or more of whom are individuals, the claim will be sent to the home court of the defendant who first files their defence).

(4) Subject to paragraph (5), in any other claim to which this rule applies, the court must, at the relevant time, send the claim to the preferred hearing centre.

(5)  If, on their directions questionnaire—

(a) a defendant under paragraph (3) has specified a hearing centre other than the defendant’s home court; or

(b) a claimant under paragraph (4) has specified a hearing centre other than the preferred hearing centre'

Practice direction amendment

The changes to the practice direction are as follows:

  • CPR PD 3.3(1) deals with which County Court hearing centre has jurisdiction when dealing with proceedings under the Companies Acts or the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000. Substituted wording will come into force which essentially provides for the following amendments:
    • include hearing centres specified in the Insolvency Rules 1986 (Amendment) Rules 2014, SI 2014/817 (the 2014 Rules), and
    • to provide that if the company has a registered office in the London insolvency district then it must be commenced at the County Court at Central London
  • CPR PD 3.3(2) has been subsumed in CPR PD 3.3(1) as it dealt with the London insolvency district
  • CPR PD 3.3(3) remains the same but is renumbered as CPR PD 3.3(2)

Email communication with the County Court (New Practice Direction 5B)

Date in force: Monday 7 December 2015.

The stated aim of the new practice direction is that it 'provides for parties to communicate and file specified documents with the court by e-mail in proceedings to which the Civil Procedure Rules apply'.


  • it will not apply to claims which use the CE-File electronic file
  • it will apply to claims commenced under CPR PD 7E (Money Claim Online) if the claim has been sent to a County Court hearing centre

The new practice direction sets out:

  • which communications and documents can be sent by email
  • technical specifications that the email will need to comply with
  • additional provisions such as the fact that anything emailed to the court must not then be sent in hard copy and the timing of receipt of emails
  • dealing with documents which contain a statement of truth

New Practice Direction 51O

New practice direction 5B

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About the author:

Janna is a dispute resolution lawyer. She deals primarily with cross border issues and is active in the work being undertaken in relation to the implications of Brexit for Dispute Resolution lawyers. Janna also heads up a LexisNexis costs team bringing together expertise from across the company to deal with the costs issues facing the profession.