The 92nd update to the Civil Procedure Rules came into force on 1 October 2017. The update makes several changes to the court’s case management powers and detailed assessment proceedings.
The associated changes to the Practice Directions have been approved by the Master of the Rolls, but have not yet received ministerial approval. However, it is highly likely that the circulated draft will be approved without any further amendments.
The main changes introduced by the update are as follows:
Rule 3.1 now explicitly states that the court may, in its general case management powers, direct that a hearing may proceed before a Divisional Court of the High Court.
Rule 47.6 is amended to provide for the filing of electronic and/or paper versions of the bill of costs.
The updated PD 47 outlines that the new form (electronic) bill of costs is mandatory for part 7 multi-track claims where the work is undertaken after 6 April 2018. It does not apply to fixed cost cases or cases in which the receiving party is a litigant in person.
Where the bill of costs is prepared after 6 April 2018, but work was done before that date, a party may file and serve either a paper bill or an electronic bill in respect of work done before 6 April 2018, but must file and serve an electronic bill in respect of work done after 6 April 2018.
It would be prudent for practitioners, given the transitional provisions, to become familiar with the electronic bill of costs prior to 6 April.
A model electronic bill in PDF format is annexed to the updated PD as precedent S.
Part 52 now expressly states that a judge hearing an application for permission to appeal may hear the application for permission to appeal and the appeal at the same time, if possible and appropriate.
Following the introduction of the Business and Property Courts (BPCs), the Mercantile Court has been re-named the Circuit Commercial Court. The 92nd update makes amendments to reflect this change of name and there are also consequential amendments to parts 30, 52, 61 and 62.
The new PD ’Business and Property Courts’ outline the scope of the work of the BPCs, the procedure for issuing proceedings, the transfer of claims and what comprises specialist work in the County Court.
The work of the BPCs is divided and listed into the following courts or lists:
A claimant wishing to issue a claim in the BPCs must choose which court, list or sub-list from within the BPCs in which to issue its claim. The claimant must also determine the appropriate location in which to issue the claim. Claims which have significant links to a particular circuit outside the South-Eastern Circuit must be issued in the BPCs’ District Registry located in that circuit. A link to a particular circuit is established where:
The new protocol applies to any business (including sole traders and public bodies) claiming payment of a debt from an individual (including a sole trader). It does not apply to business-to-business debts unless the debtor is a sole trader.
The key features are as follows: