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26 January 2010
The Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2009 implement several significant changes. Foremost among them is the introduction in several courts of the Electronic Working Scheme, which provides for the electronic filing of most court documents. Other changes affect costs proceedings, instructed representatives and time limits for filing documents and serving applications.
The Electronic Working Pilot Scheme ends on March 31 2010 and will be replaced by the Electronic Working Scheme. The new scheme provides for a large proportion of litigation to be conducted electronically in:
The rules apply to all claims under Part 7, Part 8 or Part 20, as well as arbitration claims and admiralty proceedings that are started on or after April 1 2010 or have already been commenced electronically under the pilot scheme. The new scheme allows claim forms, particulars of claim, defences and several other documents to be filed electronically.
Several features of the new scheme alter the way in which the courts deal with documents:
Certain practical points should be noted:
The scheme could be a great advance in court procedure, particularly if it is extended to the Queen's Bench Division and the higher courts. The possibility of 24-hour filing, including weekends and bank holidays, is preferable to being required to present physical documents in person at the court during restricted hours. As well as saving time and money, the change will mitigate the problem of missing or incorrectly filed documents.
Following the implementation of the Legal Services Act 2007, changes have been made to extend the definition of 'legal representative' to persons authorized to conduct litigation under the act - in practice, this includes patent and trademark attorneys.
Where a defendant or claimant has given a solicitor's address for service which is in the European Economic Area, documents must be served on the solicitor at this business address. In future, this may have a wider impact on the rules for service out of jurisdiction, but these have not yet been amended.
The time for serving an application notice before a telephone hearing is now five days - the usual limit is three days.
Documents required for application hearings, including those on which a party seeks to rely, must now be filed and served no later than 4:00pm at least two days before the hearing; previously, documents could be filed and served on the last working day before a hearing.
In respect of all applications for multi-track cases - and where the court directs in small claims and fast-track cases - a case summary and draft order must be served before the hearing.
There are several new provisions in the Costs Practice Direction:
A further statutory instrument, which is likely to include changes to the rules on e-disclosure, is expected in February 2010.
For further information on this topic please contact Jaron Lewis, Geraldine Elliott or Kim Hardman at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP by telephone (+44 20 3060 6000), fax (+44 20 3060 7000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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