Rulemakers will look into how to simplify civil justice procedures with an eye on helping litigants in person navigate the process.
A new sub-committee of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee will be formed with the guiding principles of ‘brevity, clarity and simplicity’, it emerged in minutes from April’s meeting.
These themes should be the key elements to removing ‘repetition and [prolixity]’, and tackling outstanding provisions in county court rules to ‘focus more sharply on drafting with the litigant in person/lay user in mind’.
The minutes state that six specific areas have been identified as part of the committee’s outline strategy: simplification of the rules, continuing digitisation of civil justice, modernising the rules on service, whether to extend paper adjudication of some small claims, encouragement of ADR, and litigants in person and McKenzie friends.
Work to develop ideas on ADR and McKenzie friends will be paused until those issues have been considered by the Civil Justice Council.
The committee said the duty to maintain and simplify the rules was ‘essentially a never-ending project’ and the proposals of the sub-committee were likely to require consultation.
Meanwhile, the CPR committee has said the issue of fixed costs for certain disbursements requires urgent attention.
A year ago, the Supreme Court refused permission to appeal in Aldred v Cham, following a Court of Appeal ruling which denied recovery of translation costs and counsel fees. The Supreme Court said the application to appeal did not raise a point of law of general public importance, but recommended that the CPR committee reconsider the matter.
In the April minutes, it was confirmed that a paper on the policy position had been drafted and was due to be considered at this month’s meeting.