The Designated Civil Judge for the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, HHJ McKenna, has published a note which applies with immediate effect to consent applications in the Birmingham courts to vary directions in civil cases.
The purposes of the note are to address concerns as to how to apply for and obtain a prospective order varying directions, thereby avoiding an application for relief from sanction under CPR 3.9, and to ensure consistency in the way that such applications are dealt with.
What does the note apply to?
The note applies to applications in the Birmingham courts where the parties:
- are agreed as to the terms of the order sought; and
- can certify that they have complied with the directions given to date and that no hearing date already listed whether for trial or of a pending application is adversely affected the effect of the proposed order
District Judge Lumb and District Judge Musgrave will be responsible for dealing with all such applications. If possible an order will be made on paper in the agreed terms. Otherwise, they will direct the listing of the application in the general list or in the Emergency List. Where a certificate of urgency is given the application may be issued in the Emergency List, but HHJ McKenna stresses that ‘”urgent” means precisely that’ and that responsibility for providing a certificate of urgency is with the applicant’s advisors.
What do parties need to do?
The covering letter submitting the application must:
- be headed so as to make clear that the application is to vary existing directions by consent and seek its referral to one of the nominated District Judges
- confirm that no hearing date is adversely affected by the proposed order
Applications which are opposed, or which involve the vacation of hearings or other complications, must be issued formally with a realistic time estimate.
The provisions of this note will operate with immediate effect in the Birmingham courts. However, HHJ McKenna points out that the CPR Committee has approved a change to the CPR which will permit parties to agree extensions of time of up to 28 days to orders for directions, subject to similar conditions as already outlined. Although it is not yet known when this will come into effect, this will be contained in an SI which is due to be released in June 2014.