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CHANGES TO CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURE IN 2013

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CHANGES TO CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURE IN 2013
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  CHANGES TO CIVIL LITIGATION AND PROCEDURE IN 2013 Rebecca BroadbentTRAINING DAY 2013Chivers Solicitors, Durham 1  CONTENTSIntroduction …………………………………………………………………………. 3A New Overriding Objective ……………………………………………………….. 4Allocation ……………………………………………………………………………. 5Expert Evidence …………………………………………………………………….. 6Disclosure ……………………………………………………………………………. 7Relief From Sanctions ………………………………………………………………. 8Costs ………………………………………………………………………………….. 9General Damages …………………………………………………………………….13Part 36 Offers ……………………………………………………………………….. 14Referral Fees, CFAs and Other Liabilities ………………………………………… 15 2  INTRODUCTION On 1 April 2013, civil procedure underwent the most significant evolution since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules (‘CPR’) in 1999. The controversial Jackson Reforms were in part inspired by the often cripplingly high and disproportionate costs involved in civil litigation. It was said that this prevented access to justice and thus needed to be addressed.This guide seeks to explain in summary what the essential changes to the Rules are. Part 54 of the CPR  and its Practice Direction is not referred to. Instead, this guide looks at the wider context of civil law. In an increasingly competitive market, it is important to be aware of the wider landscape that current  practice and procedure is situated within.The Jackson Reforms were controversial from the outset, and many felt that the changes would impinge upon individuals’ access to justice and the courts. It is feared that the drastic reduction, and in some areas, total removal of public funding in civil matters, will severely impact upon individuals’ access to the courts, legal representation and justice. These cuts affect aspects of people’s lives where they need legal help most, where alternative avenues of redress are not sufficient. Additionally, the new sanction on defendants to encourage earlier settlement of claims, despite its benefits, penalises further a defendant wishing to contest a claim which, if lost, he would have to pay damages and costs in any event.Despite this, the reforms will also bring many benefits to the courts, lawyers and litigants. This is a time in which we can make full use of this. The new regime seeks to make justice accessible to all by tackling the disproportionately high costs in claims which previously dissuaded people from bringing actions. The fact that proportionality is placed at the heart of the amended Civil Procedure Rules is testimony to this commitment of keeping costs under control which ultimately is of benefit to potential clients. Secondly, the new regime discourages unnecessary cases thus economising the courts’ resources. Finally, given that success fees in Conditional Fee Agreements are now capped at 25% of damages recovered, the claimant’s damages are protected in this respect. 3  A NEW OVERRIDING OBJECTIVE Whilst the reforms bring in specific changes surrounding damages and success fees in civil claims, the spirit of the reforms generally is that proportionality and costs must be at the heart of   every  stage of civil  proceedings. Costs are not something which should be merely addressed once the case is over. Rather, the philosophy of the reforms is intended to prevent substantial, disproportionate and unnecessary costs  before  they are incurred.The overriding objective of the Civil Procedure Rules reflects the general sense of how civil justice in England and Wales is to be imparted. Previously, the overriding objective simply stated that civil cases were to be dealt with ‘justly’. The new overriding objective reads as follows: “These Rules are a new procedural code with the overriding objective of enabling the court to deal with cases justly and at a proportionate cost.” Given that by the very nature of the overriding objective it is mandatory for the court to consider it when interpreting any Civil Procedure Rule (or exercising any power courtesy of the Rules), for better or for  worse proportionality of costs is now at the forefront of civil justice in England and Wales. 4  ALLOCATIONAllocation of small claims Courtesy of the new Rules, the small claims limit is now £10,000 (an increase from £5,000). As before, the financial value of any claim for damages for personal injuries must not be more than £1,000 (Civil Procedure Rules Part 27). Power of the court to allocate the claim to a lower track  The reforms revoke Civil Procedure Rule 26.7(3), thus enabling the court to allocate a claim to a lower  track than it would usually be allocated to. The court has the power to do this without consent of the  parties. Abolition of Allocation Questionnaires Allocation Questionnaires (Form N150) are abolished and are replaced by Directions Questionnaires. Once all parties have filed their Directions Questionnaires, the claim will be allocated to the appropriate track. Directions Questionnaires can be used to provide the court with further information which may be  pertinent to which track the claim is allocated. 5

Cap27 (tcc)

Apr 16, 2018

Christian JUTTEN

Apr 16, 2018
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