For many, the Big Bang was not quite the explosion everyone was expecting.
What is clear, however, is that those who fail to comply with the Rules and court orders do so at their own peril.
The October updates
The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 7) Rules 2013 come into force on 1 October 2013, and many of the amendments in the 66th update to the CPR will also become effective as from that date.
Key changes include:
- General case management powers
The court can now order a party to file and serve a costs budget, instead of an estimate of costs.
- Provisional assessment
Clarification has been given that the sum of £1,500 (being the maximum the court will award as costs of the assessment) excludes any VAT, court fees paid by that party, and the costs of drafting the bill of costs.
- Precedent H
A new Precedent H was issued as of 1 September 2013, the only change being to the heading, which should read 'issue/statements of case' instead of 'issue/pleadings'.
- Defence and reply - CPR 15
The Practice Direction to Rule 15 has been amended. Any reply must be filed with the directions questionnaire. Where the date for filing the directions questionnaire is later than the date for filing a defence to counterclaim (because the time for the directions questionnaire is more than 14 days (small claims) or 28 days (fast and multi-track)), the court will order that the defence to counterclaim be filed at the same time as the reply. If no such order is made, then the reply and the defence to counterclaim can form separate documents.
The practice direction to Rule 52C - appeals to the Court of Appeal - now requires skeleton arguments to be served at the same time as the appellant's notice. All documents for the appeal hearing must be served on all other parties to the appeal.
- Other amendments
The majority of the other amendments are simply to correct typographical and referencing errors. The practice direction dealing with references to the European Court has been replaced to take account of EU Treaty changes and the new European Court Procedure Rules.
So what's next on the horizon?
- Attachment of earnings
Fixed tables will be introduced based on a percentage of salary and a new system for tracking employees who change jobs. HMRC will also be allowed to provide the court with new employers' details.
- Other changes
When Parts 3 and 4 of Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCEA) come into force, they will introduce Information Orders and Department Information Requests. These will enable creditors to obtain information from third parties and government bodies about customers, including their full name and address, date of birth, national insurance number, whether or not they are employed and if so, by whom.
- Codification of law on enforcement by bailiffs
Codification of the law regarding enforcement by bailiffs taking control of and selling goods is expected. The whole process will be prescribed and the TCEA will also modernise some of the terminology.
- Introduction of a single county court
The single county court should be implemented in April 2014. The section of the Crime and Courts Bill 2013 bringing in this change is not yet in force and a statutory instrument is awaited.
- Damages based agreements
The Ministry of Justice is considering amendments to the Regulations, and it is expected that by April 2014 hybrid agreements will be allowed. What other amendments will be made is yet to be determined.
Should you have any queries regarding the amendments, please do not hesitate to contact us.