The 95th and 96th updates to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) recently came into force. Cait Sweeney looks at the headline changes.
The 95th update makes a limited number of changes to CPR 45, which centre on costs limits in Aarhus Convention Claims.
The new rules expressly outline (CPR 45.42(1)) that the claimant must file and serve with the claim form a schedule of the claimant’s financial resources, which is verified by a statement of truth and provides details of the claimant’s significant assets, liabilities, income and expenditure. The schedule must also contain information on financial support any person has provided or is likely to provide to the claimant and the aggregate amount.
The new rules also provide at CPR 45.44 that:
- the court may vary a costs cap only on an application made by the claimant or the defendant
- an application to vary a costs cap must be made at the outset, either in the claim form if made by the claimant or in the acknowledgment of service if made by the defendant
- the application must be determined by the court at the earliest opportunity.
An application may only be made at a later state in the process if there has been a significant change in circumstances. A significant change in circumstances includes evidence that the schedule of the claimant’s financial resources contained false or misleading information which would mean that the proceedings would be prohibitively expensive for the claimant if the variation was not made, or would not be prohibitively expensive for the claimant if the variation were made.
Any subsequent application made by the claimant must be accompanied by a revised schedule of financial resources or a confirmation that the claimant’s financial resources have not changed.
The changes came into force on 6 April.
There are no rule amendments in the 96th update. However, it does make a number of amendments to several practice directions.
The Electronic Working Pilot Scheme
PD 51O allows electronic filing of claims and subsequent documents in the Business and Property Courts (B&PC). The 96th update has extended the pilot scheme until 6 April 2020.
Insolvency express trials
The aim of the insolvency express trial scheme, implemented by PD 51P, is to provide litigants in the Bankruptcy and Companies Court with a quick, streamlined procedure in insolvency cases and for quicker disposal of simple applications. This scheme has been extended for two years.
Online Courts Pilot
The pilot for the digital procedure for county court money-only claims valued under £10K (PD 51R) has been amended. The website address used for the purposes of accessing the online court website has been changed to www.moneyclaims.service.gov.uk.
However, if a claim was started in the pilot under PD 51R before the changes made by the update came into force on 26 March 2018, the claimant and defendant may continue to use the website address www.moneyclaim.reform.hmcts.net to access the online court website.
If a claimant decides to use the online court, the claimant must also volunteer their claim to be used to test ‘new features’ in the pilot scheme, ie any features of the online court process that are in an earlier stage of development.