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01 May, 2015

A number of significant reforms have been introduced in April, notably the introduction of the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015, the implementation of the much discussed sections of the Criminal Courts and Justice Act 2015 relating to fundamental dishonesty and inducements and finally, Part 36 of the CPR has undergone another overhaul.

Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015

The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015 came into force on 13th April 2015. It will apply to accidents occurring on or after this date. In a claim for negligence or breach of statutory duty, a Court must now consider the following additional factors, whether:

  • the alleged negligence or breach of statutory duty occurred when the defendant was acting for the benefit of society or any of its members;
  • the defendant demonstrated a generally responsible approach towards protecting the safety or interests of others;
  • the alleged negligence or breach of statutory duty occurred when the defendant was acting heroically by intervening in an emergency to assist an individual in danger.

Criminal Courts and Justice Act 2015

The following sections came into force on 13th April 2015:

Section 57 - fundamental dishonesty

The defendant is entitled to make an application to the Court on the basis that the claim is fundamentally dishonest in relation to the primary claim or a related claim.

The Court need only be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the claimant has been fundamentally dishonest.

If a finding of fundamental dishonesty is made, the court must dismiss the primary claim, unless it is satisfied that the claimant would suffer substantial injustice if the claim were dismissed.

Section 58-61 - ban on inducements

The Act prohibits legal services providers from offering inducements to make personal injury claims. The ban covers both monetary and non-monetary inducements including free gifts and cash.


CPR Part 36

CPR Part 36 has been revised. The enabling Statutory Instrument states that the purpose of the new Part 36 is to "align the rules with case law developed since the Part was last amended and re-arranges the order of the rules in the Part."

From 6 April 2015, the entirety of the new Part 36 will apply to all Part 36 offers made on or after that date.

In addition, as from 6 April 2015, certain of the new Part 36 provisions will apply to offers made before that date where a trial of any part of the claim or of any issue arising in it starts on/after 6 April 2015.

The most notable changes include the introduction of time limited offers, a revision of the rules relating to split trials, the inclusion of the requirement for the court to consider whether the offer was a genuine attempt to settle the proceedings when considering the costs consequences of a Part 36 offer and the extension of the rules to Appeals.

The amended rules can be found here: http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part36

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