Remote hearings are [probably] not the new normal

The CJC-sponsored research project into experiences of remote civil court hearings reported this morning. The investigation into court users’ experiences was carried out during the first half of May and over 1,000 responses were submitted. Among its tentative findings is that largely procedural or interlocutory matters appear to lend themselves better to remote hearings; fully contested substantive issues perhaps less so.

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Holiday sickness claims and fixed costs

The minutes of the Rule Committee’s February meeting show some progress on holiday sickness claims. The core idea to extend fixed recoverable costs to these cases has been on its agenda since late last year, following the Ministerial announcement last year.

Proposed changes to fixed costs (CPR Part 45) seek to apply PL costs to these cases. A relevant pre-action protocol (PAP) is still in draft form – very probably based on the general personal injury PAP – and being worked up between the Committee and the Civil Justice Council. Some CPR points also need clarification, for example the application of Part 36 offers and the overlap with small claims (Part 27).

The recently published February minutes strongly suggest that the intention is still to bring the changes into force this April. Minutes are not yet available from the 2 March meeting and the next meeting takes place on 13 April. Given that a statutory instrument – which has to follow a defined Parliamentary timetable – is required to change rules on procedure and costs, there is some possibility that the proposed introduction of fixed costs for holiday sickness claims in April 2018 could slip. We will report any further developments soon as we can.


Co-written by Alistair Kinley, BLM’s director of policy and government affairs, and partner Sarah Hill

Alternative Dispute Resolution: the CJC explore the options

The Civil Justice Council will not be short of reading matter over the Christmas break as it will be poring over the various responses to its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Consultation. We spoke about why this was important in the context of other civil reforms in our Blog “Maximising ADR – a one way street?” on 2 November and now take the opportunity to look at some of the questions raised and the issues that are under consideration.

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