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The annual open meeting of the CPR Committee (CPRC) took place remotely on 15 May 2020 and covered a number of topics, including the postponement of the whiplash reforms, reforms to CPR 81, the Commission for Welsh Justice, CPR PD 2B, the CPRC’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, proposals for measures to protect vulnerable court users, amendments to CPR 73, consequential amendments arising out of the amended statement of truth, various costs reform proposals and the relationship between rules and Practice Directions.
Whiplash reforms postponed
The Chair confirmed that the proposed whiplash reforms are delayed until April 2021.
Contempt (CPR Part 81) Consultation update
The sub-committee on reform of CPR 81 has prepared a draft revision, which cuts the number of rules down to ten, as opposed to the current 38. A public consultation has recently concluded and the sub-committee will present their final proposals at the next CPRC meeting on 5 June 2020. If the proposed changes are adopted by the CPRC then the new rules will come into effect either this year or early 2021.
Commission for Justice in Wales update
Following two years of evidence-gathering, the recommendation by His Honour Judge Jarman QC was that it should be compulsory for challenges to the validity of decisions made by a Welsh public body to be heard in Wales.
The CPRC agreed in principle to take that forward. A proposal has been drafted and will be considered fully at the CPRC meeting on 5 June 2020.
Issues with CPR PD 2B
Although not a formal agenda item, Master Dagnall confirmed that questions posed to the CPRC by LexisPSL regarding drafting issues with CPR PD 2B would be considered by the relevant sub-committee, who would bring their recommendations to the CPRC either in June or July. For details of the relevant points concerning CPR PD 2B, see Practice Note: Injunctions—jurisdiction—County Court—jurisdiction of District Judges.
The Chair raised eight matters relevant to the CPRC’s work in relation to coronavirus:
in relation to the prospect of a move more generally to remote hearings in a post-coronavirus world, we are still some way away from video hearings becoming the norm
In relation to two further points raised by CPRC members, the Chair also discussed the following:
Four proposals were presented from the vulnerable parties sub-committee:
Subject to a requirement that the individual amendment proposals be subjected to proper drafting scrutiny, the CPRC confirmed that the sub-committee should move forward with those proposals.
The CPRC approved amendments, to be included in the next updating SI, to CPR 73. These amendments will enable Legal Advisors to make an unless order where the judgment creditor fails to file a certificate of service pursuant to CPR 73.7(2), and also clarify certain matters in CPR 73.10.
There was recognition by the CPRC that the amendment to the wording of the statement of truth in CPR PD 22, para 2.1 caused some issues with other parts of the CPR that also specifically set out the wording of the statement of truth (these issues are highlighted in Practice Note: Statements of truth—Form of statement of truth).
The CPRC agreed that the best way forward was to simply remove the specific wordings from elsewhere in the CPR (other than in respect of experts) and replace them with references to the wording in CPR PD 22, para 2.1.
Four matters were raised by the lacuna sub-committee for consideration by the CPRC, all of which related to costs:
The Chair noted that the practice of supplementing rules with Practice Directions sometimes worked well but in other cases made the rules cumbersome and less accessible. There was not sufficient time to discuss the matter in detail but members of the public at the meeting were invited to put forward any strong views they had on the subject.
Due to time constraints only six questions from the public were posed. The questions and answers are summarised as follows:
The answer was the same for both points raised. A lot of work was undertaken in 2018 and 2019 to refine the CPR rules and prepare them for Brexit. Those provisions are already primed to come into effect either on 31 December 2020, or on such later date as may be agreed if an extension to the implementation period is sought.
How can litigants in person access up-to-date knowledge relevant to litigation?
CPR 36 is slightly unclear about what happens with the costs in pre-action settlements. Although CPR 36.13(1) refers to ‘recoverable pre-action costs’, CPR 44.9(2) provides that there is no ‘deemed’ costs order recognising the right to costs under CPR 36.13(1) and (2) where the offer is accepted before proceedings are issued. Should something be added to CPR 36.13 regarding pre-action settlements?
Can the CPRC give any information on the pre-action protocol for boundary disputes and a timescale for taking this forward?
Two points of other business were raised:
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Richard is a barrister with over 10 years’ experience in the civil courts in England and Wales. Through extensive exposure to the courts on a nearly daily basis he has developed an in-depth understanding of the practical application of the CPR in day-to-day litigation, both in interim hearings and substantive trials.
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