CIVIL PROCEDURE AND THE SECRET STATE: HOW FAR CAN IT GO?
Yesterday I wrote of problems when the court was refusing to issue proceedings alleging (wrongly) that they were statute barred. It is becoming frightening that important issues of law are being made (or purportedly made) by administrators. This led to a response in the comment section which is equally frightening. It requires wider publicity.
THE COURT REFUSING TO ISSUE PART 8 PROCEEDINGS
Robert Pettit wrote
“We have recently started to get letters from the court refusing to issue Part 8 proceedings for court approval of infant settlements. The courts have said that the CPR has not changed but they have received an internal letter (which no one is allowed to see), which directly them to refuse Part 8 proceedings in such circumstances and request that a Part 7 claim is made and the fee for such proceedings is in line with the quantum of the settlement.”
LET US EXAMINE THIS IN DETAIL
I cannot, surely, be alone in finding this preposterous.
1. There has been no change in the CPR.
2. There is an internal letter which no one is allowed to see which directs the court to refuse Part 8 proceedings.
So we have a position where:
1. Administrators are purporting to refuse to issue proceedings on the basis they are statute barred.
2. A letter exists, which no one is allowed to see, which purports to restrict the use of Part 8 proceedings.
This, on any view, is quite ominous.
I am told that this sometimes leads to problems where Part 8 proceedings (nor those seeking approval obviously) are issued towards the end of the limitation period but returned by the Court. So the practical advice is that if you are issuing Part 8 proceedings issue well before the end of the limitation period.
WHO CURTAILED THE USE OF PART 8?
It would be useful to know:
- Who has decided that Part 8 proceedings can be curtailed in this way?
- The legal basis for such a decision.
- Why no one is allowed to see the letter which gives out instructions to court staff.
- When procedure in the civil courts started to become governed by secret administrative dictat.
- Who is making such decisions.