• 24/11/2017

His Honour Judge Pelling QC, Specialist Chancery Judge has asked that we let members know about some significant proposals to reform the current rules on disclosure for cases proceeding in the Business and Property Courts.

In May 2016, the previous Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Terence Etherton, now the Master of the Rolls, established a Disclosure Working Group (DWG) in response to widespread concerns expressed by court users and the profession regarding the perceived excessive costs, scale and complexity of disclosure.

The proposals take the form of a new draft Practice Direction to replace the CPR Part 31 and were published on the Judiciary website on 2nd November, 2017 and can be accessed HERE

The Working Group, chaired by Lady Justice Gloster, identified a number of key defects in the current disclosure regime.

During its review, the DWG through its members, consulted with a range of interested parties and received extensive feedback, much of which is now reflected in the proposed scheme.

The unanimous view of the DWG is that a wholesale cultural change is required and that this can only be achieved by the widespread promulgation of a completely new rule and guidelines on disclosure which will apply for the majority of cases proceeding in the Business and Property Courts.

It is proposed that the scheme will run in the Rolls Building Courts and the Business and Property Courts outside of London.

There is a 4-month feedback period between now and 28 February, 2018 following which the proposed pilot scheme will be submitted to the Civil Procedure Rules Committee for approval.

In the event that it is approved, there will then be a 2-year mandatory pilot in the Business and Property Courts in London and each of the centres.  The Practice Direction would then be introduced by way of a rule change to the existing CPR Part 31.

To facilitate the feedback on the proposals (via the professional associations and user groups) three members of the DWG ( Lady Justice Gloster, Ed Crosse, partner at Simmons & Simmons / president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and Vannina Ettori, Legal Adviser to the Chancellor of the High Court) will be attending Manchester Civil Justice Centre on Monday 29 January 2018 at 5.30pm in the Conference Suite on Level 6  to outline the proposals and seek your feedback.

Please circulate these details within your firm and via your contacts.

If you would like to attend this meeting please e-mail [email protected]