RULE CHANGES (109): ELECTRONIC FILING, INCURRED COSTS AND THE CCMC, SMALL CLAIM HEARINGS IN PRIVATE

We are now on the 109th update to the Civil Procedure Rules.  The three points I want to look at in particular are: mandatory electronic filing in the QBD; the costs of the CCMC being clearly categorised as incurred costs; small claims hearings in private.

USEFUL LINKS

The changes are available following links on this page. 

SOME OF THE KEY POINTS

ELECTRONIC FILING: MANDATORY FROM THE 1ST JULY 2019

One important point to note (in particular because it came into force on the 1st July)

 

“Electronic Working Pilot Scheme (PD 51O) effective from 01 July 2019:  extends an existing pilot scheme so that, where electronic working applies, it is mandatory, as from 1 July 2019, for a party who is legally represented to use electronic working (CE Filing) to start and/or continue any relevant claims or applications within the Central Office of the Queen’s Bench Division.”

INCURRED COSTS – INCLUDE THE COSTS OF THE CCMC

A slight change in the wording of Practice Direction 3E on costs management makes it clear that the costs of the CCMC include incurred costs.

In paragraph 7.4, in the first sentence, for “before the date of any” substitute “up to and including the date of the”.

(Strangely this only comes into force on the 1st October 2019.  Parties can – if they so wish – argue the point up to then.  However the change appears to reflect what has become standard practice).

PRIVATE HEARINGS ON THE SMALL CLAIMS TRACK

“Currently, PD27 para 4.1(2)(a) states that the judge may decide to hold the hearing in private in a small claims track case if the parties agree.  Although the judge is not bound to accept that the parties’ agreement is a sufficient basis for deciding to hold the hearing in private, para 4.1(2)(a) suggests that the judge could decide that was a sufficient basis. Even before the recent amendments to CPR 39.2, that was not the law.  The parties cannot combine to defeat the public’s right to open justice except in cases where the court is satisfied that one of a number of criteria apply and, in addition, that a private hearing is necessary to secure the proper administration of justice. This amendment therefore removes that inaccurate paragraph to address the issue of when hearings are in public or in private.”