Forthcoming Changes to the Civil Procedure Rules

Article

06 March, 2013

The 60th Update to the Civil Procedure Rules introduces changes in a number of areas. The key changes to be implemented on 1 April 2013 are as follows:

  • Overriding Objective - the overriding objective of the rules is strengthened to enable to the courts to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost.
  • Costs Capping - the rules are to be amended to allow the court to monitor parties' compliance with directions. The scope of the rules on applications for relief from sanctions is widened to provide the court with the power to deal with failure to conduct litigation at proportionate cost.
  • Costs management for multi-track cases - costs budgets are introduced and the court will require the parties to file a costs budget at an early stage of the proceedings and parties will be encouraged to agree the budgets where possible. The court may make a "costs management order" and if it does so will thereafter control the parties' budgets in respect of recoverable costs.
  • Increase in small claims track limit - limit is to be increased from £5000 to £10000 for non-personal injury claims.
  • The Small Claims Track - a maximum amount of £750 is recoverable for expert's fees in a case allocated to the small claims track.
  • The Multi-Track - parties will be required to agree appropriate directions for the management of cases, and to submit directions seven days before any case management conference.
  • Experts and Assessors - an estimate of costs is required where expert evidence is provided.
  • Part 36 Offers to settle -10% uplift in damages where a Claimant obtains a judgment that is at least as advantageous as the Claimant's CPR 36 offer. The uplift to be capped at £75000.
  • One way qualified costs shifting - rules introduced as an alternative to after the event (ATE) insurance. A losing claimant will not pay any costs to the defendant, and a successful claimant against who a costs order has been made will not have to pay those costs except to the extent that they can be set off against any damages received. QOCS protection will however be lost altogether if the claim is struck out or is found to be fundamentally dishonest.
  • Damages-based agreements - a DBA is a private funding arrangement between a representative and a client whereby the representative's agreed fee is contingent upon the success of the case and is determined as a percentage of the compensation received by the client.
  • Procedure for Detailed Assessment of Costs - the process for detailed assessment in which the costs claimed are £75,000 or less is amended. The court will undertake a provisional paper assessment of the bill, and the costs of the assessment will be limited to £1,500. If any party is dissatisfied with the assessment an oral hearing will be fixed. If the dissenting party achieves an adjustment in its favour by 20% or more they will not be required to pay the costs of the oral hearing.
  • Proportionality of costs - costs will be considered proportionate if they bear a reasonable relationship to the value and the complexity of the claim. Also, consideration will be given to any additional work generated by the conduct of the paying party; and any wider factors involved in the proceedings, such as reputation or public importance.

For more information about the amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules or any of the changes to be implemented please contact Ridwaan Omar at our Blackburn office on 01254 662831; Siobhan Hardy at our Leeds office on 0113 244 6688 or Andrew Ellis at our Manchester office on 0161 918 0000.

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