WHERE HAVE ALL THE CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES GONE? WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN?
From the day this blog started there has always been a link to the Civil Procedure Rules. These were available, in an easily accessible form, on the Ministry of Justice website. They may still be there – but not for long. Accessibility to the rules have been moved to a much less accessible version on the gov.uk website.
EASE OF ACCESS TO THE RULES IS A MATTER OF JUSTICE
The fact that the rules are easily accessible has been a feature in many recent court cases. In Barton -v- Wright  UKSC 12 the accessibility of the rules was an important factor in the Supreme Court’s finding that a litigant in person should not be treated differently.
“Unless the rules and practice directions are particularly inaccessible or obscure, it is reasonable to expect a litigant in person to familiarise himself with the rules which apply to any step which he is about to take.
19. Mr Barton contends that CPR rule 6.3 and Practice Direction 6A are inaccessible and obscure. I do not accept this. They are accessible on the internet.”
THE NEW (IN)ACCESSIBLE VERSION
The rules on the gov.uk website are far inferior. They are arranged in batches of 20. There has been heavy criticism, see John Hyde’s article in The Law Society Gazette.
A DECISION TAKEN WITHOUT ANY CONSULTATION AND WITHOUT ANY THOUGHT FOR THE CONSEQUENCES
As far as I am aware this decision was not announced in advance. There was no consultation process. This is, as indeed the Justice Minister has recognised, “all part of access to justice”. It is a mystery why these steps should be taken with, apparently, no real thought of the consequences and their impact upon access to justice.