Court and litigation reforms

Profession
Proposals to cut the cost of litigation and speed up dispute resolution have been presented to the senior judiciary by the Bar Council.


Reforming civil litigation, published on 25 March, reflects the recommendations of a working group including the chairs of the Chancery Bar Association, Commercial Bar Association and the Technology and Construction Bar Association, chaired by Michael Todd QC.

Among the recommendations are that all cases should be docketed to ensure consistency; case management conferences, conducted by the trial judge, should take place no later than the close of pleadings, at which point the parties should be required to identify the issues to be decided and the evidence required; pre-action protocols should be got rid of; the CPR rules for witness statements should be abolished and replaced by rules for witness summaries; a single, electronic case management administration system should be implemented across the jurisdictions of the Rolls Building; and there should be only one procedural guide for the Rolls Building.

The Lord Chancellor, a day after the report’s publication, announced that the Ministry of Justice would be reviewing court and tribunal resourcing and adminstration. He wanted “those who litigate in our courts to pay their fair share”, and to find means of generating investment for a “better and more flexible service to court users” which would “further enhance the position of the UK at the centre of the international legal market and the revenue it can generate.”

Meanwhile a Chancery modernisation review, launched in February by the Chancellor of the High Court, is reviewing current practices and procedures in the Chancery Division and will make its recommendations for reform within a year.

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