The Civil Procedure Committee has circulated the 101st Practice Direction update. This introduces a new video hearing pilot scheme in CPR PD 51V which will come into force on 30 November 2018. It will apply to applications to set aside County Court default judgments entered under CPR 12. In addition there is a technical amendment to CPR PD 2E dealing with the jurisdiction of the County Court which may be exercised by a legal adviser. This came into force on 8 November 2018.
The original version of 101st practice direction update referred to the new pilot scheme as CPR Practice Direction 51U. However, this reference had already been assigned to the Disclosure Pilot for the Business and Property Courts. Having raised this with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) it has now been confirmed that the pilot scheme will be CPR Practice Direction 51V. The reference in the update in this news analysis should therefore be read as 51V not the 51U as stated.
The 101st Practice Direction update is available here:
A communication from the CPR Committee has explained the updates as set out below.
Video hearing pilot scheme
A pilot scheme is established, as CPR Practice Direction 51V (note: we have changed this to reflect the MoJ confirmation referred to above).
The pilot will test a procedure for applications to set aside County Court default judgments entered under Part 12 of the Civil Procedure Rules, and which are heard at the Manchester or Birmingham Civil Justice Centres, via an internet-enabled video link. Subject to their consent, the parties (or their legal representatives) will attend the hearing of the application, using the video-link, from suitable IT equipment and will see and hear, and will be seen and heard by, each other and the judge determining the application. Hearings will be held in public. Members of the public may access a hearing by attending the court in person and will see and hear the judge and the parties or their legal representatives on a screen set up in the court room. The pilot supports the ongoing reform programme to modernise the court system.
The pilot will run from 30th November 2018 to 30th November 2019.
Jurisdiction of the County Court which may be exercised by a legal adviser
A technical amendment has been made in practice direction 2E to permit legal advisers at the County Court Business Centre (CCBC) and the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC) to consider applications to make a counterclaim after a defence has been filed (pursuant to rule 20.4(2)(b)) but to limit that power to applications where the limitation period for bringing the counterclaim has not expired.