March / April 2020 Practice Direction updates

March / April 2020 Practice Direction updates

The Ministry of Justice has signed the 113th update—practice direction amendments, which makes amendments to various practice directions supplementing the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The amendments, which come into force variously on 31 March 2020 and 6 April 2020, cover the following practice directions: CPR PD 2B, CPD PD 2E, CPR PD 7E, CPR PD 16, CPR PD 22, CPR PD 32, CPR PD 44, CPD PD 51O, CPR PD 51R, CPR PD 51T, CPR PD 52A, CPR PD 52D and CPR PD Proceedings Under Enactments Relating to Equality.

Details of the changes to practice directions are set out in this document:

113th update—practice direction amendments

Changes in force from 31 March 2020

The following changes come into force on 31 March 2020:

CPR PD 51O and The Electronic Working Pilot Scheme—extends the pilot scheme by one year from April 2020 to April 2021

minor/consequential amendments:

CPR PD 2E and CPD PD 51R—consequential amendments following the change made by the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/82 to CPR 52 and CPR 54 regarding the ability of Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) to be authorised to perform certain functions of the court. For further detail of those CPR changes, see News Analysis: CPR changes—March and April 2020—Part 52 and Part 54—CILEX Fellows

CPR PD 51T—consequential amendments (including transitional provisions) to omit this pilot practice direction following the change made by the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020, SI 2020/82 to move the pilot into the mainstream rules. For further detail of those CPR changes, see News Analysis: CPR changes—March and April 2020—Part 73 and Part 45—Legal Advisers Final Charging Order provisions

Changes in force from 6 April 2020

The following changes come into force on 6 April 2020:

CPR PD 16 and credit hire notifications—these changes are made in response to a CPRC Committee (CPRC) consultation in June 2017 and reinforce the requirement to plead specific matters in credit hire cases

CPR PD 22 and CPR PD 32 and statements of truth and witness translation—the changes address the issues of cases where a witness statement is presented in English but where, notwithstanding signature of the statement, the witness cannot speak English and the statement is not necessarily ‘in their own words’. The changes aim to make it possible for such cases to be identified much earlier in the process. Additional changes to CPR PD 22, require a statement of truth to be dated with the date that it is signed and the required wording of the actual statement is also amended to include a warning that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against those who give a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth

CPR PD 44 and costs—the amendment follows the decision in Brown v CPM, which considered the wording in CPR PD 44, para 12.6 to be wrong and in need of urgent amendment. The amendment changes the reference to proceedings being ones ‘to which rule 44.16 applies’ with a narrower and more accurate reference to proceedings to which one of two specific provisions in issue apply

CPR PD 52A and routes of appeal—the changes address the issue raised in Topping v Ralph and restore the general principle that the destination of an appeal is governed by the rank of the judge who dealt with the case at first instance. The amendments also remove the restriction limiting the class of judge able to deal with directions and applications to those able to hear the appeal

CPR PD 52D and the Bar Standards Board—references to the rules under which decisions of the Bar Standards Board that are being appealed were made are updated so that it refers to the new Qualification Rules

CPR PD Proceedings Under Enactments Relating to Equality—the changes follow concerns that the provision for notification to be provided to the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, intended to benefit claimants by allowing for the possibility of intervention or other support by the Commission, should not result in a sanction against a claimant who failed to comply with the requirement

minor/consequential amendments:

CPR PD 2B—to omit paragraph 16 (Appeals) as a result of the changes made to CPR PD 52A detailed above

CPR PD 7E—minor amendment to include an updated email address


No changes to forms are made by this update but changes are in the process of being made to the following housing possession related forms, which will be issued separately:

Form N5B (England) and related Defence form N11B (England)—the revised forms will be issued in readiness of an April 2020 implementation to coincide with the associated CPR changes to CPR 55 (as to which, see News Analysis: CPR changes—March and April 2020—Part 55—housing matters)

Form N5B (Wales) and related Defence form N11B (Wales)—the revised forms are currently being translated into Welsh and will be issued in due course for immediate use

These form changes were discussed at the CPRC meeting on 1 November 2019. For details, see News Analysis: Minutes of the CPR Committee meeting—1 November 2019—Housing Sub Committee—CPR 55.12 and Forms N5B and N11B (for England and Wales) (item 2).

Further practice direction updates

Two further practice direction updates are anticipated imminently as a result of the HMCTS Reform Programme. Those updates are subject to final approval but are anticipated to include the next series of adaptation to the Online Civil Money Claims Pilot scheme (CPR PD 51R and any consequential changes to CPR PD 51S), along with other possible changes.

This analysis was first  published on Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution on 10 February 2020.

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About the author:

Tina specialises in general domestic and international litigation. 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. Tina also maintains the LexisPSL appeals content.