Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)
Civil litigation is governed by these rules. They represent guidelines, rules and regulations in relation to a court procedure when resolving a civil matter. They have to be complied with before a trial is legally executed. At the same time the courts must remember to comply with Convention rights (European Convention on Human Rights). E.g. Article 6 of the Convention relating to a fair trial. The courts must of course comply with all other Convention rules unless a declaration of incompatibility is made. The existence and coming into force of CPR rules 1998 overrode old Rules of the Supreme Court (in the High Court) and County Court Rules (in the county Court).
Declaration of Incompatibility
It is a declaration which states that legislation is incompatible with a Convention Right. In such a case legislation should be amended so that it is found in compliance.
Civil procedure rules in parts
Civil procedure rules are divided into parts. There are 74 parts all together. Each part has several rules. There are also Practice directions which relate to each part. Practice directions are divided into paragraphs and their purpose is to assist in clarification and better understanding to the main rules. The most important rule which also defines all the purpose of those rules is CPR Part 1 Rule 1. According to Rule 1, it is an overriding objective of the court to deal with the cases justly. Dealing with cases justly means, preserving equality of the parties to the dispute, if possible saving unnecessary expenses, preserving proportionate dealings with cases bearing in mind the complexity and nature of the cases, ensuring that the case is dealt with fairly and expeditiously. The last but not least making sure that the court allots appropriate amount of resources to each case. Overriding objective has to be considered at all stage of the proceedings as well as when interpreting any other rules contained in Civil Procedure Rules. The rules also impose an obligation on the parties and the state to help the court to further and preserve overriding objective.
Pre- Action Protocols
Pre-action protocols are contained in the Civil Procedure book (the White book) together with the rules. Pre-action protocols represent guidelines on procedure to other more specific areas of law before the court is involved. These are: Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence, Construction Engineering disputes,Defamation, Professional Negligence, Judicial Review, Disease & Illness, Housing Disrepair, Possession claims based on rent arrears. This aim of pre-action protocols is to encourage early settlement of dispute without the need for the court to get involved. The suggestion is that the parties should encourage early exchange of information so that the parties clearly understand the implications of the dispute. The objective is that in case that the proceedings in the court are unavoidable, they are done expeditiously.
Other rules represent guidelines referring to courts case management powers (CPR Part 3), service of court documents ( CPR Part 6), rules on how to start proceedings and explanation of what a claim form is and what it must contain (CPR part 7).
For more information on:
- Part 7, 10, 14, 15, 16 How to start proceedings
- Other Parts
- Criminal Procedure Rules