If new rules are important you would think that great time and effort would be spent in making sure that practitioners had plenty of advance notice and they were readily available for study and consideration before they came into force. However the latest revisions to the Pre-Action Protocols appear to have been published on the 1st April (that date could be significant) and virtually no effort spent on letting practitioners have sight of the new rules in advance.
The changes are helpfully summarised by Ruth Pratt on the Lexis Nexis Dispute Resolution Blog. The include changes to the following Protocols.
- Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence.
- Professional Negligence and Judicial Review.
- Housing Disrepair and Possession.
- Social Landlords and Mortgage repossession claims.
- The Low Value Personal Injury Protocol.
WHERE ARE THE PROTOCOLS AND WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?
No further details are available. There was some consideration of the issues in an earlier Lexis Nexis Blog. The only version readily available at present appears to be behind a pay wall.
THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF: THERE IS LAW OUT THERE YOU HAVE TO COMPLY WITH AND DON’T KNOW ABOUT
The Protocols come into force on the 6th April. Failure to comply can lead to heavy penalties in costs and, potentially, actions or defences being struck out. Yet hardly any effort appears to have been made to publicise the changes or make them readily available.
LITIGATION IS ONLY AN “OPTIONAL ACTIVITY” AFTER ALL
If ever there was an indication of the lack of seriousness that civil procedure receives it is this last minute introducing of important changes with no practical “run in” time and no effort at all to disseminate information in advance. Litigation is a hard enough job already and the late (and virtually secret) introduction of new rules does not give rise to a great deal of confidence.