The Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)

The Civil Procedure Rules set out in detail, the process to be followed by all parties when issuing or responding to a claim. They govern the conduct of both the claimant and the defendant along with their solicitors (if applicable) as well as the courts themselves and also deal with issues such as costs and appeals. They rules are available online here: www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules.
The CPR
White Books
If you intend to issue or defend a claim, you need to familiarise yourself with the relevant parts of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR).

The rules deal with issues such as:

 

  • Pre-action conduct: steps that have to be taken before issuing a claim;
  • What the claim form should contain and how claims should be particularised;
  • Service of documents and exchange of information between the parties;
  • Timescales for acknowledgment, submitting defences and supplying information;
  • Applications to the court;
  • Allocation
  • Costs;
  • Disclosure and inspection of documents and what to do in case of non-compliance;
  • Defences and responses;
  • Counter-claims;
  • Varying the terms of a judgment.
The claim form

Part 16 sets out what the claim must contain:

Contents of the claim form

16.2

(1) The claim form must –

(a) contain a concise statement of the nature of the claim;

(b) specify the remedy which the claimant seeks;

(c) where the claimant is making a claim for money, contain a statement of value in accordance with rule 16.3;

(cc) where the claimant’s only claim is for a specified sum, contain a statement of the interest accrued on that sum; and

(d) contain such other matters as may be set out in a practice direction.

MCOL

Practice Direction 7E deals with claims issued online through MCOL:

5.5  When the court issues a claim form, it will –

(1) serve a printed version of the claim form on the defendant; and

(2) send the claimant notice of issue.

5.6  The claim form will have printed on it a unique customer identification number or a password by which the defendant may access details of the claim on Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service website.

5.7  The claim form will be deemed to be served on the fifth day after the claim was issued irrespective of whether that day is a business day or not. ‘Business day’ has the same meaning as in rule 6.2(b).

The claim form is deemed to be served five days after the date of issue, which is why you have five extra days allowed for service, from the date printed on the claim form, in addition to the 14 days to acknowledge or defend and a further 14 days to submit a defence if you acknowledge.
Online response

Paragraph 7 refers to filing your response online:

7.1  A defendant wishing to file –

(1) an acknowledgment of service of the claim form under Part 10;

(2) a part admission under rule 14.5;

(3) a defence under Part 15; or

(4) a counterclaim (to be filed together with a defence),

may, instead of filing a written form, do so by completing and sending the relevant online form at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/onlineservices/mcol.

7.2  Where a defendant files an online form –

(1) a hard copy must not be sent in addition;

(2) the form is not filed until it is received by the court, whatever time it is shown to have been sent;

(3) an online form received after 4 p.m. will be treated as filed on the next day the court office is open; and

(4) where a time limit applies, it remains the responsibility of the defendant to ensure that the online form is filed in time.

Acknowledgment

Part 10 deals with the acknowledgment of service and when you would want to use that facility:

10.1

(1) This Part deals with the procedure for filing an acknowledgment of service.

(2) Where the claimant uses the procedure set out in Part 8 (alternative procedure for claims) this Part applies subject to the modifications set out in rule 8.3.

(3) A defendant may file an acknowledgment of service if –

(a) he is unable to file a defence within the period specified in rule 15.4; or

(b) he wishes to dispute the court’s jurisdiction.

The consequences of not acknowledging service are given in paragraph 10.2:

Consequence of not filing an acknowledgment of service 10.2

If –

(a) a defendant fails to file an acknowledgment of service within the period specified in rule 10.3; and

(b) does not within that period file a defence in accordance with Part 15 or serve or file an admission in accordance with Part 14,

the claimant may obtain default judgment if Part 12 allows it.

10.3 gives the time frame for filing an acknowledgment of service:

10.3(1) The general rule is that the period for filing an acknowledgment of service is –

(a) where the defendant is served with a claim form which states that particulars of claim are to follow, 14 days after service of the particulars of claim; and

(b) in any other case, 14 days after service of the claim form.

The court’s jurisdiction does not refer to what your local court is, if you live in England and Wales and have received a claim from Northampton or any other county court in England and Wales, you wouldn’t dispute jurisdiction.
Filing defences

Part 15 refers to filing defences:

Consequence of not filing a defence

15.3  If a defendant fails to file a defence, the claimant may obtain default judgment if Part 12 allows it.

The period for filing a defence

15.4

(1) The general rule is that the period for filing a defence is –

(a) 14 days after service of the particulars of claim; or

(b) if the defendant files an acknowledgment of service under Part 10, 28 days after service of the particulars of claim.

Paragraph 15.5 allows both parties to agree to extend the period for filing a defence:

Agreement extending the period for filing a defence

15.5

(1) The defendant and the claimant may agree that the period for filing a defence specified in rule 15.4 shall be extended by up to 28 days.

(2) Where the defendant and the claimant agree to extend the period for filing a defence, the defendant must notify the court in writing.

Part 15 is useful when the claimant fails to comply with a request for documents or information in a timely manner.
Transfer to your local court

Paragraph 12 of PD 7 deals with transfer of claims to your local court:

12.1  Where the defendant is an individual and Northampton County Court is not their home court, the court will transfer the claim to the defendant’s home court –

(1) under rule 13.4, if the defendant applies to set aside or vary judgment;

(2) under rule 14.12, if there is to be a hearing for a judge to determine the time and rate of payment;

(3) under rule 26.2, if a defence is filed to all or part of the claim; or

(4) if either party makes an application which cannot be dealt with without a hearing.

Disclosure

Part 31 refers to disclosure of documents:

31.1

(1) This Part sets out rules about the disclosure and inspection of documents.

(2) This Part applies to all claims except a claim on the small claims track.

Meaning of disclosure

31.2  A party discloses a document by stating that the document exists or has existed.

Part 31 is often used to get documents from the claimant once a claim has been issued.
Additional information requests

Part 18 deals with requests for additional information:

Preliminary Request for further information or clarification

1.1  Before making an application to the court for an order under Part 18, the party seeking clarification or information (the first party) should first serve on the party from whom it is sought (the second party) a written request for that clarification or information (a Request) stating a date by which the response to the Request should be served. The date must allow the second party a reasonable time to respond.

1.2  A Request should be concise and strictly confined to matters which are reasonably necessary and proportionate to enable the first party to prepare his own case or to understand the case he has to meet.

1.3  Requests must be made as far as possible in a single comprehensive document and not piecemeal.

1.4  A Request may be made by letter if the text of the Request is brief and the reply is likely to be brief; otherwise the Request should be made in a separate document.

1.5  If a Request is made in a letter, the letter should, in order to distinguish it from any other that might routinely be written in the course of a case,

(1) state that it contains a Request made under Part 18, and

(2) deal with no matters other than the Request.

Part 18 requests are very useful when you need to get information from the claimant.

Paragraph 1.6 sets out the format for Part 18 requests for information

1.6

(1) A Request (whether made by letter or in a separate document) must –

(a) be headed with the name of the court and the title and number of the claim,

(b) in its heading state that it is a Request made under Part 18, identify the first party and the second party and state the date on which it is made,

(c) set out in a separate numbered paragraph each request for information or clarification,

(d) where a Request relates to a document, identify that document and (if relevant) the paragraph or words to which it relates,

(e) state the date by which the first party expects a response to the Request.

Summary judgment and strike out

Practice Direction 3 refers to the court’s powers to strike out a claim or issue summary judgment:

1.2 The rules give the court two distinct powers which may be used to achieve this. Rule 3.4 enables the court to strike out the whole or part of a statement of case which discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing or defending a claim (rule 3.4(2)(a)), or which is an abuse of the process of the court or otherwise likely to obstruct the just disposal of the proceedings (rule 3.4(2)(b)) Rule 24.2 enables the court to give summary judgment against a claimant or defendant where that party has no real prospect of succeeding on his claim or defence. Both those powers may be exercised on an application by a party or on the court’s own initiative.

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If you have received a claim, you need to acknowledge it within 14 days to avoid default judgment.
See responding to a claim.
If you are defending a claim, it is very important to make sure you submit your defence before the deadline, otherwise the claimant can request default judgment.
You have a maximum of 33 days from date printed on claim to file a defence.
Calculate your date.
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