In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 118th update to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) allows parties to extend time limits, and clarifies the rules on recorded hearings.

Practice Direction 51ZA (PD 51ZA) is effective from 2 April to 30 October 2020.

Time extensions

PD 51ZA makes provision for parties to agree extensions of time to comply with procedural time limits in the CPR, Practice Directions and court orders.

Parties can agree an extension up to 56 days without formally notifying the court (rather than the current 28 days) so long as that does not put a hearing date at risk.

Any extension of more than 56 days needs to be agreed by the court.

Guidance for courts

PD 51ZA provides guidance to the court when considering applications for extensions of time and adjournments.

Listening to recorded hearings

PD 51ZA clarifies Practice Direction 51Y by making clear that a person seeking permission to listen to or view a recording of a hearing may do so by request, and does not have to make a formal application under the CPR.