The Civil Procedure Rule Committee has started a consultation on its new protocol for debt claims, after complaints from creditors’ groups.
In a letter yesterday, the committee said creditors had objected to the cost and time limits of the proposed pre-action protocol.
Creditors said it would be too expensive to supply details of the contract and statements of account, and complained that the 28-day period for defendants to seek advice was not sufficient.
In letters to the committee, they also objected to the requirement in the debt protocol to consider alternative dispute resolution.
The committee said it was ‘not made aware’ there had been no consultation on the proposed protocol until June this year. It was subsequently decided to consult with groups affected on the content rather than principle of the new rules.
‘A core principle of the debt protocol is that debtors, or alleged debtors, should be provided with sufficient information to enable them to obtain advice on their position prior to the issue of a claim,’ said the committee’s letter.
A new debt protocol, aimed at resolving matters before coming to court, has been under discussion since Lord Woolf’s report on access to justice in 1996, and the issue was revisited by Lord Justice Jackson is his recommendations for reducing civil litigation costs.
The CPRC hopes to implement most of the updated protocols in April 2015.
The consultation lasts until the end of this month, with all interested parties invited to respond.