The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2014 have been published, along with the making document which details the amendments to various practice directions. Together they implement the 69th update to the Civil Procedure Rules and come into force in April.
Summary of changes
Two of the main changes are the introduction of the single County Court and enforcement law changes.
Single County Court
Sections 17(1) and (2) of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 provide for a single county court and come into force on 22 April 2014. There will be a single national entity with a national jurisdiction.
The County Court will sit at various locations throughout England and Wales and the court houses will act as hearing centres, with court administrative offices attached to them.
All references to a county court will become the County Court. References to specific county courts will change to a specific County Court hearing centre.
The Northampton county court is renamed "the County Court Business Centre". Claims issued at the business centre or the CCMCC (including money claims online) will remain there until a hearing is required or the claimant wishes to enforce a judgment, other than by the issue of a warrant.
Proceedings in the County Court will not be transferred (which is generally a judicial function) between hearing centres, but will now be "sent" from one hearing centre to another.
The definition "designated money claim" has been removed, now all only money claims under Part 7 will be processed at one of the two business centres.
The definition of "judge" now reflects the amendment of section 5 of the County Courts Act 1984. Judges will no longer be restricted to geographical boundaries. Judges of the County Court will include all judges of the Senior Courts.
All county court money claims will be subject to automatic transfer under CPR 26.2A. The consequences of failure to comply with the notice of proposed allocation will apply to all county court money claims, not just those which were commenced in the County Courts Money Claims Centre (CCMCC).
Enforcement of Judgments
The 69th CPR update contains various amendments to implement Part 3 and Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and to incorporate the procedural rules for enforcement which are currently in Schedules 1 and 2 to the CPR, into the main body of the CPR.
These changes will come into force on 6 April 2014, along with the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 and the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. Taking control of goods replaces the concept of seizing goods.
Four new parts are introduced to the CPR, parts 83 to 86 which deal with the rules for taking control of goods; claims against controlled and executed goods; and competing claims to goods, respectively.
There will be a change in terminology, writs of fi fa will become writs of control and warrants of execution will become warrants of control.
The amendments don't apply to requests for writs or warrants, including warrants of possession, made prior to 6 April 2014.
Part 3 - costs management
The statement of truth on Precedent H has been amended, as follows:
"This budget is a fair and accurate statement of incurred and estimated costs which it would be reasonable and proportionate for my client to incur in this litigation."
This amendment comes into force on 22 April 2014.
Part 16 - Statements of case
Part 16 has been amended to reflect changes to the High Court and County Court Jurisdiction Order 1991, which will provide that claims under £100,000 must be made in the County Court.
Part 16.3(5)(a) provides that the statement of value for a claim issued in the High Court must now state that the claim is more than £100,000.
These changes will come into force on 22 April 2014.
Small claims mediation
A new rule 26.4A has been inserted to deal with referral to the mediation service for claims that would normally be allocated to the small claims court. This will only apply where the parties agree to mediation. A new form will be introduced to set out any settlement agreement reached.
Part 42 - change of solicitor
This amendment will allow other legal representatives such as legal executives and costs lawyers to go on the court record.
Part 52 - appeals
As from 22 April 2014, any order refusing permission to appeal will indicate the court to which any further application should be made and the level of judge who should hear the application.
Part 55 - possession claims
Claims will be issued by the hearing centre where the claim is made, but will be sent to the hearing centre which serves the address where the land is situated, if different.