Dealing with the court can be a daunting prospect for any litigant and one should hope being involved in court proceedings is a rarity, if it occurs at all. When enquiries are made of us about the prospect of proceedings we seek to ensure a client, of potential client, is aware of what exactly the court is seeking to achieve.
Put simply the court seeks to resolve disputes. It uses a variety of techniques and creates a whole host of opportunity that narrow the issues in dispute or resolve them.
The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) are the rules of civil procedure that relate to the way in which a case is conducted in the court process. They apply to civil proceedings in the county court, the High Court and the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal. They were implemented to ensure the court deals with cases justly, cost effectively and quickly.
Part 1 of the Civil Procedure Rules contains one of the most important parts of the rules which is the Overriding Objective. This is set out below.
(1) These Rules are a new procedural code with the overriding objective of enabling the court to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost.
(2) Dealing with a case justly and at a proportionate cost includes, so far as is practicable –
(a) ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing;
(b) saving expense;
(c) dealing with the case in ways which are proportionate –
(i) to the amount of money involved;
(ii) to the importance of the case;
(iii) to the complexity of the issues; and
(iv) to the financial position of each party;
(d) ensuring that it is dealt with expeditiously and fairly; and
(e) allotting to it an appropriate share of the court’s resources, while taking into account the need to allot resources to other cases and
(f) enforcing compliance with rules, practice directions and orders.
The court must seek to give effect to the overriding objective when it –
(a) exercises any power given to it by the Rules; or
(b) interprets any rule, subject to rules 76.2, 79.2, 80.2 and 82.2
The parties are required to help the court to further the overriding objective.
(1) The court must further the overriding objective by actively managing cases.
(2) Active case management includes –
(a) encouraging the parties to co-operate with each other in the conduct of the proceedings;
(b) identifying the issues at an early stage;
(c) deciding promptly which issues need full investigation and trial and accordingly disposing summarily of the others;
(d) deciding the order in which issues are to be resolved;
(e) encouraging the parties to use an alternative dispute resolution(GL)procedure if the court considers that appropriate and facilitating the use of such procedure;
(f) helping the parties to settle the whole or part of the case;
(g) fixing timetables or otherwise controlling the progress of the case;
(h) considering whether the likely benefits of taking a particular step justify the cost of taking it;
(i) dealing with as many aspects of the case as it can on the same occasion;
(j) dealing with the case without the parties needing to attend at court;
(k) making use of technology; and
(l) giving directions to ensure that the trial of a case proceeds quickly and efficiently.
There are a number of rules that litigants must get to grips with when engaging with the courts. The overriding objective is present in all cases that pass through the courts, so litigants should have this in mind when dealing with all aspects of litigation.Talk to our legal team
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