The pre-action protocols and when they apply

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The pre-action protocols and when they apply
  • What are pre-action protocols?
  • Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols
  • Non-compliance with protocols
  • Which claim specific pre-action protocol applies?
  • Debt claims
  • Professional negligence claims
  • Media and communications claims
  • Construction and engineering disputes
  • Dilapidations
  • More...

The pre-action protocols and when they apply

This Practice Note provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the relevant provisions of the CPR. Depending on the court in which your matter is proceeding, you may also need to be mindful of additional provisions—see further below.

What are pre-action protocols?

The pre-action protocols are to be adhered to by prospective parties prior to proceedings being commenced. As indicated in Commentary: Pre-action protocols: Halsbury's Laws of England (11) [19] and CPR glossary, they are, in effect, statements of best practice intended to assist parties in understanding the case they are presenting/having to meet, such that the parties can seek to resolve the dispute without any proceedings proving necessary or, if this is not possible, to help clarify the issues prior to any action starting.

You should follow the protocol that relates most closely to the subject matter of the dispute. If there is no protocol for the type of dispute you are dealing with, you should refer to the Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols.

Many of the protocols provide for the exchange of documents to avoid the need for pre-action disclosure. However, an application can still be made if you believe you are entitled to documents other than those provided to you. For information on this area, see Practice Note: Pre-action disclosure—the application.

Practice Direction Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols

The Practice

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