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70th, 71st and 72nd updates to CPR published

Three updates to the CPR have recently been made (72nd probably the most important to look at)

70th Update: Introduces changes to implement s.64 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, which requires all enforcement agents to be certificated unless exempt under s.63.

71st Update: Introduces changes to establish a Planning Court specialist list, overseen by a judge nominated by the President of the Queen’s Bench Division. Planning cases of particular significance will be listed and heard in line with timescales set down in the attached Practice Direction.

Please note that there is an error in Statutory Instrument SI 2014 No.610 (Planning Court). The words “considers appropriate” as shown in red in the extract from the Statutory Instrument shown below have been omitted from the published Statutory Instrument. This is omission is being rectified by a correction slip.
“General
54.21.—(1) This Section applies to Planning Court claims.
(2) In this Section, “Planning Court claim” means a judicial review or statutory challenge which —
(a) involves any of the following matters —
(i) planning permission, other development consents, the enforcement of planning control and the enforcement of other statutory schemes;
(ii) applications under the Transport and Works Act 1992;
(iii) wayleaves;
(iv) highways and other rights of way;
(v) compulsory purchase orders;
(vi) village greens;
(vii) European Union environmental legislation and domestic transpositions, including assessments for development consents, habitats, waste and pollution control;
(viii) national, regional or other planning policy documents, statutory or otherwise; or
(ix) any other matter the judge appointed under rule 54.22(2) considers appropriate; and
(b) has been issued or transferred to the Planning Court.
(Part 30 (Transfer) applies to transfers to and from the Planning Court.)”

Full details and links to the Statutory Instruments and PD Making Documents for the 70th and 71st Updates are on the CPR website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil 

72nd Update:

(1) Sets out amendments to provide clarification of the rules introduced in 2013 which extended the courts’ management powers in respect of costs. Cases to which cost management will apply and costs budgets are to be filed is more clearly defined and limited to Part 7 Multi-track claims except where the claim is valued at £10m or more. In other types of case the court will have the discretion to implement costs management and parties will be able to apply for costs management if it is deemed appropriate by the circumstances of the individual case.

(2) Makes amendments to provide that certain permission applications in relation to committal for interference with the due administration of justice or in relation to committal for making a false statement of truth or disclosure statement can be made to any single judge of the High Court rather than only to a single judge of the Queen’s Bench Division.

(3) Makes amendments consequential on changes to the CPR in relation to enforcement and the implementation of the single County Court on the coming into force of provisions in Section 17 of, and Schedule 9 to, the Crime and Courts Act.

The Statutory Instrument for 72nd Update can be seen at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/867/contents/made. The PD Making Document has not as yet been finalised but will be published in due course.
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Law Society Council elections 2014: shape the future of the profession

We are looking for energetic and enthusiastic solicitors from all types of practice to stand as candidates for the Law Society Council. Put yourself forward now and shape the future of your own profession.
Fifteen elections are taking place for geographical constituencies as a number of current Council members' terms come to an end at this year's annual general meeting (AGM).
The deadline for nominations is 17:00 on Friday 25 April 2014.
Those candidates successfully elected will take office for a term of four years at the end of the AGM on 10 July 2014.

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First details of HMCTS secure data transfer with firms

Secure Data Transfer is a modern and secure system to enable customers issuing in bulk to upload and transfer data files directly from their proprietorial systems to HMCTS systems. 

This new system will be launched in July 2014 and will significantly enhance the current service provided to bulk users.

It will enable:

speedy submission of digital claims in bulk

digital payment via direct debit with monthly or weekly invoicing 

the ability to track the progress of a case on-line in real time 

users to retrieve and review defences on line.  

Bulk customers will be able to view the following actions online:

Claim issue

Entry of judgment (or rejection of application)

Warrant of execution (or rejection of application)

Date and location of transfers out of the county court bulk centre

The receipt of a the response entered by the defendant; 

Payment or withdrawal of the claim 

Applications to set aside and to vary the judgements.

The new system provides issues with significant benefits:

Court fees to issue claims through the new system are significantly cheaper than issuing via paper – 18% less.Payment by direct debit avoids the cost of preparing and presenting cheques 

Real time access to case progress will reduce the need to telephone the County Court Money Claims call centre 

Claims are received prior to midnight will always be issued on the next working day

Manual form completion and posting is avoided.

All claims packs produced by the system are bulk printed which saving significant costs.

All claim packs will have a unique ID which will allow the defendant to file their responses on line and enable the case to continue on line.


For further information and queries from customers please contact the project at SDT.Mailbox@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk  

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Law Society Chief Executive to retire


Desmond Hudson to retire from the Law Society

Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, has today announced that he will retire from his role. He will leave the Society after this year’s AGM.

Mr Hudson joined the Society as chief executive in September 2006.  Under his leadership, the Society has developed to become an internationally renowned organisation that supports and represents its members around the world.

Mr Hudson has strengthened the Society by streamlining its management structure, introducing new technology and communication platforms, reforming pay and pension arrangements and boosting revenues generated from commercial activity to invest in member services. 

He has led numerous high profile campaigns including the introduction of a range of new initiatives to help to increase the quality of legal services provision in England and Wales and raise public awareness of solicitors’ expertise. These include the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, Risk and Compliance Service and the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme.

He has also promoted UK legal expertise overseas and helped Law Society members to access new markets.

Mr Hudson said: “A year ago I took the decision to retire in 2014.  It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Law Society during this time of change for the legal profession and I look forward to continuing to do so until I depart.  I would particularly like to thank my colleagues and our volunteer community within the Society for the support and guidance they have given me over the years.  I am indebted to them and proud of what we have achieved together.” 

Nicholas Fluck, president of the Law Society, said: “Des has delivered an outstanding service to the Law Society and has been a powerful advocate for the solicitors profession for eight years. He will be a tough act to follow.  He has transformed the organisation during his tenure and provided a powerful and influential voice for our members.  His contribution will benefit the Society and our profession for many years to come.”


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HMCTS correct notice of provisional allocation (N149C)

As many of you know there was an error on the Notice of Provisional Allocation to the Multi-Track (N149C) that was being sent out by HMCTS.


A letter will now accompany the Notice confirming the error and that sub paragraph d) is missing. A copy of the letter can be seen here:

http://www.keithetherington.co.uk/downloads/index.html     (file name is N149C correction)




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Electronic trial bundles are on their way

Netmaster and Microsoft join forces to revolutionize the court room with state of the art app; To hold world’s first cross-continent virtual eTrial.

(LONDON) Netmaster’s CaseLines, a leading electronic bundle system & service announces it has teamed up with NASDAQ-listed Microsoft to provide ground-breaking cloud technology within the courtroom.  
This collaboration has seen the two notable technology leaders in their field joining forces to develop an electronic bundle app called CaseLines, which will allow lawyers to easily access electronic bundle files and notes securely, whether they are out of the office or in the courtroom. The app will be downloaded from the Window’s store onto tablet devices and used in the court room either online or offline where there is no wifi.
Additionally, as a world’s first, the team at Netmaster and Microsoft will be demonstrating the CaseLines Court Room App on the 22nd May in a world-wide 'Virtual eTrial'.  Judges from four continents will 'attend' a virtual trial using conferencing technology from Microsoft and the eBundling App from CaseLines.  With public galleries at the Faculty of Law, University College of London and in Washington DC, the event will point the way forward for the court room of the future.  More details on the Virtual eTrial will be issued in March.  
Paul Sachs, Founder of CaseLines, comments:
"This is a natural step for the evolution of the electronic Bundle (eBundle).  Now that our customers are benefiting from an easy-to-use bundle preparation facility we want to make it simple and low cost to use that eBundle in the court room.  This will change the face of how legal hearings are conducted - bringing the courtroom into the modern, electronic era in an efficient and low cost manner.  Using the Microsoft Windows Store is a perfect delivery mechanism for the CaseLines app that is needed in the court room in the UK and across the world.  We will be delivering affordable paperless trials for every level of case".
Sachs continues:
"We believe that the CaseLines app will be the most advanced and trusted product to be placed into the court room for accessing eBundles.  That’s why we are pleased to see commitment from Microsoft through resources and money to support this app and expect to see a step change in the court room of the future.  This technology will support the widest range of legal cases from local authority matters with 1000 pages up to the largest of serious cases in the civil litigation world.  Access will be in the hands of the widest range of participants including judges, barristers, solicitors, claimants and defendants.  And the economics will mean that everyone will be able to save money and paper by taking their case to court as an eBundle."
Notes to Editors:
Netmaster leads the way in electronic bundles for legal hearings.  Their system CaseLines is a ground-breaking new eBundling system which takes full advantage of the Microsoft cloud technology.  CaseLines is used in the preparation of legal bundles where clients experience ten-fold improvements in man-power requirements, four-fold improvements in time-scales and drastic reductions in paper usage.   CaseLines is used to create indexed legal bundles of any size in a secure private cloud that can be updated, shared with counsel, expert witnesses, disclosed to other parties and used in the court room. 
Netmaster provides related services to scan and load documents, detect duplication, OCR, sort and order the bundle as required in the bundle preparation process.

Issued by Netmaster Solutions Ltd
For more information please contact:
Paul Sachs
08447 705535
07785 300029
paul.sachs@netmastersolutions.co.uk
www.caselines.co.uk

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Access to Audio Recordings of Proceedings

Practice direction by the Lord Chief Justice

1. This Practice Direction is issued in order to clarify the practice and procedure governing access to CD or Digital Audio recordings of court proceedings. It applies to civil and family proceedings in all courts in England and Wales.
2. Where court proceedings, including judgments, are recorded by tape or other mechanical or digital means there is generally no right, either for a party or non-party, to listen to or receive a copy of such a recording. This is to minimise the risk of misuse of such recordings.
3. A person who has obtained a copy of the official transcript of proceedings or a judgment may apply, upon payment of the charges authorised by any scheme in force, for permission to listen to or receive a copy of an audio recording of the proceedings, the judgment, or a part thereof.
4. Applications should be made to the judge hearing the proceedings or, if the proceedings are taking place in the Court of Appeal or a Divisional Court, to the presiding judge.
5. Subject to paragraph 6, permission will only be granted in exceptional circumstances, for example where there is cogent evidence that the official transcript may have been wrongly transcribed.
6. Permission will usually be granted to official law reporters, i.e., individuals who hold a Senior Courts qualification for the purposes of section 115 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, if they require access to a recording in order to ensure that they can report a judgment with complete accuracy.
7. Permission may be granted subject to such conditions as the court considers necessary to protect recordings of confidential or legally privileged conversations between parties and their lawyers.
8. This Direction is made by the Lord Chief Justice, following consultation with the Master of the Rolls and President of the Family Division. It is issued in accordance with the procedure laid down in Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
Lord Thomas LCJ
14 February 2014
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QBD litigants can amend time periods without court order

It has been confirmed that the following wording will now be standard in all QBD orders:

"The parties may, by prior agreement in writing, extend the time for directions, in the order dated xxx by up to 28 days and without the need to apply to court.  Beyond that 28 day period, any agreed extension of time must be submitted to the court by email including a brief explanation of the reasons, confirmation that it will not prejudice any hearing and with a draft consent order in Word format.  The court will then consider whether a formal application and hearing is necessary."

I am not sure yet whether this applies to County Court orders but I will update as soon as I know.
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Need help funding your LPC?

Law Society Diversity Access Scheme

Applications for the Diversity Access Scheme for the 2014/15 academic year are now open.

The Diversity Access Scheme (DAS) offers assistance with Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees to exceptional individuals who face or have overcome exceptional obstacles to qualify as a solicitor. Obstacles may be of a financial, social, educational or personal nature, or might relate to a disability or chronic health condition that makes the goal of qualifying as a solicitor a particularly challenging one.

Download the application form (word) and Diversity Access Scheme application guidance (PDF 183kb) for full information about the application criteria, process and timetable.
Applications will close at midday on Friday 28 March 2014.
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Whiplash reform: have your say


The Law Society has been invited to a government roundtable on whiplash reform and we want our representative to be informed by the experience of our members from across the personal injury (PI) sector.
We will be holding a focus group meeting, chaired by our representative. The aim of the meeting will be to discuss the government's proposals for whiplash reform, as detailed in its consultation response on reducing the number and costs of whiplash claims.
The key proposals are:
  • introducing an approved accreditation scheme for medical experts
  • improved medical reporting, including standardisation and fixed fees
  • reducing undesirable behaviours (such as pre-medical offers)
  • improved data sharing between insurers and claimant solicitors
If you would be interested in attending this focus group meeting, please contact us at focusgroup@lawsociety.org.uk.
The meeting is expected to be held in February, and may be a webcast or recorded.
Places will be limited, so we cannot guarantee a place to all respondents. Preference will be given to solicitors with a background in PI work (both claimant and defendant).

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