This month sees the 20th anniversary of the Civil Procedure Rules coming into force.  This is a good time to invite practitioners (and judges if they are so minded) to look back at the old rule and the “new” rules and see whether they have been a force for good.  An invitation has gone out to the lawyers on Twitter (and remains open until the 26th April, the actual anniversary). As ever replies are helpful, characterful, sardonic and illuminating.


“But at least they cleared up the rules relating to service of the claim form…”


 How about a collection of stories/tweets about the experiences you would like to share (or not share) about our oh-so- user-friendly civil procedure rules. What have you learnt (the hard way or otherwise)? Any funny (or not so funny) stories? Alternatively what do you miss about the old rules?


I think changing “plaintiff” to “claimant” was a major mistake. It has resulted in some thinking they are making an insurance claim (e.g. when your carpet is flooded), because there happens to be an insurer involved, instead of bringing a civil action for damages.

By equating the two types of “claim” – in some people’s minds – it diminishes what we as lawyers do and the seriousness of the process itself.

I agree entirely … there was absolutely no need to change this

I hate the word “claimant”. Bring back “plaintiff”.

Same with “disclosure” in place of “discovery”, taking the eye off finding stuff just as volumes starting growing wildly

Likewise replacing Third/ Fourth Party with the clumsy mouthful First Part 20 Defendant etc. Although the mistake was realised and we reverted to the old terminology in 2006, inexplicably the Court forms still have the clunky wording.

It brought about the revolutionary concept of exchanging witness statements. No longer did you turn up for Trial to be faced with 5 witnesses you had no idea existed, and no idea what they were going to say until they went into the box. Great times!

I sat my LPC exams on the pre-CPR rules after the CPR had already started (slashed my tendons so sat the first attempt late). That was a bit irritating, to say the least.

& 2 sets of procedural rules 🙁 ( and legal aid 🙂 )

No SJEs. Two experts of each discipline in minor PI cases. Experts routinely churning out medically dubious, intellectually dishonest reports coming to wildly different conclusions from their counterparts on “the other side”. Thank goodness we’ve been relieved of that caper.

Was never around for the “good old days” but a fantastic solicitor I knew refused to learn the m as he was about to retire-he never did look at them but retired in 2016. This was the same chap who used the white book to prop open the fire door

CPR. Went “live” 26 April ‘99 without a procedure for appeals… Part 52 was not then included.. Within weeks I had to appeal against a decision by one of my heroes DJ Osborne who had lectured me on the Solicitors’ Finals. Another heart-stopping moment.

The CPR brought good progress on offers, experts, strike outs, ADR/mediation, and the SCT. The reforms failed to deliver simplicity, certainty, speed, costs-savings, and in part better access to justice. They are unbalanced. Easy change? PI/CN costs should be contingency fees

David Boyle

Remember the book wars in 1999 – White v Green v Brown?

Issuing a £3000 claim in the High Court…. for a court fee of £60!

Interlocutory applications…where lawyers actually went into a court building….. where there was a Judge who knew what he/she was doing. 🤓
Automatic strike out after 15 months…..Ooooh, we did laugh!