Kerry Underwood

CPR COMMITTEE: MORE DANGEROUS THAN UKIP

with 18 comments


The Civil Procedure Rules Committee, unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable and undemocratic, has decided to remove judges from a whole series of judicial functions including deciding applications in relation to the following matters:-

  • amending Particulars of Claim;
  • stays;
  • rectifying procedural errors;
  • extending time for service of Claim Form;
  • adding or substituting a party;
  • making a counterclaim;
  • setting aside or varying a default judgment;
  • interim payments.

A pilot scheme comes into force on 1 October 2015 and covers claims issued at Northampton Bulk Centre, Money Claims Online and the County Court Money Claims Centre in Salford. This is achieved by Practice Direction 51K – The County Court Legal Advisers Pilot Scheme.

Extraordinarily CPR 51.2 gives the Civil Procedure Rules Committee entirely unlimited powers to modify or disapply any provision of any rule for the purposes of a pilot.

The rule reads:- “51.2 Practice directions may modify or disapply any provision of these rules –

(a) for specified periods; and

(b) in relation to proceedings in specified courts,

during the operation of pilot schemes for assessing the use of new practices and procedures in connection with proceedings.

I suspect no-one ever anticipated that this Rule would be used to abolish judges hearing a whole raft of applications.

Taken to its logical conclusions the Civil Procedure Rules Committee could abolish trials, appeals and indeed the whole civil justice system in England and Wales.

The Nazis in Germany or the apartheid regime in South Africa would have been delighted with such powers.

I trust that the Administrative Court will strike this provision down at the earliest opportunity and that every court will refuse to enforce it on the ground that it is a very obvious breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that is the right to a fair trial. As this is secondary legislation courts can simply refuse to take any notice of it if it breaches the Human Rights Act; there is no need to refer it back to Parliament.

The Law Society Civil Justice Committee at its meeting on 25 February 2015, under Any Other Business, recorded this in the minutes:-

“Keith Etherington said that there was to be a pilot scheme run at the County Court Money Claims Centre in Salford, from around October 2015, under which cases would be dealt with by legal advisors rather than judges until they were allocated to a court. There was concern at the level of training the advisors would have and that judicial decisions would be taken by unqualified people; and that the service standard was being reduced when fees were rising. The Civil Procedure Rules Committee had been under pressure to introduce the system and had not consulted on it. The new rule and practice direction had not been written and the Society might wish to consider whether to contest the arrangement. Any decision made by a non-judge was likely to be challengeable. Martin Heskins would be asked to obtain, if possible, the report that the Rules Committee had considered.”

Legal advisers, who must be solicitors or barristers, will now make these decisions which have always been the responsibility of the judges. There will be no hearing.

There has been no consultation about this radical change, which overturns nearly 900 years of judicial matters being determined by judges. No details have been provided as to the training, or more likely lack of training, that these parajudges will receive. There is no minimum period of qualification or call.

The parties can within 14 days request a District Judge reconsider the decision. That reconsideration will take place without a hearing.

Now you know what the 622% court fee increase was for.

Remember it is this unbelievably incompetent Civil Procedure Rules Committee which brought you the Relief from Sanctions fiasco, along with unintelligible rules in relation to a whole host of matters including Part 36 and Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting and a complete lack of guidance on matters such as proportionality.

It is time for this bunch of incompetents to be banished and their committee and all its works abolished. Making Civil Procedure Rules should now become a matter for a Parliamentary Committee drawing on the use of experts, that is people who know what they are doing, when needed.

As to the removal of judges from any process whatsoever that should require an Act of Parliament.

NEXT WEEK: CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES COMMITTEE ABOLISHES PARLIAMENT AND DECLARES MARTIAL LAW

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Written by kerryunderwood

May 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

18 Responses

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  1. Thanks for your unnecessary political insight Kerry. Are you employed by the BBC?

    Jan Cruise

    *From:* Kerry Underwood [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* 06 May 2015 11:38 *To:* jan@wolflaw.co.uk *Subject:* [New post] CPR COMMITTEE: MORE DANGEROUS THAN UKIP

    kerryunderwood posted: “The Civil Procedure Rules Committee, unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable and undemocratic, has decided to remove judges from a whole series of judicial functions including deciding applications in relation to the following matters:- amending Part”

    wolflawsolicitors

    May 6, 2015 at 11:42 am

    • Frightened of debate are you? Frightened of the truth ? Very simple: if you don’t like the blog then don’t subscribe and don’t read it. That is what freedom of expression and freedom of debate and courts and elections and all that sort of thing are about.

      kerryunderwood

      May 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

      • I’m a great admirer of yours Kerry and the legal profession owes you a huge debt. But your views on the virtues of one political party or another shouldn’t cloud your otherwise excellent legal comment. It may alienate people unnecessarily. Sent in good spirit I assure you. Nigel Adams

        Nigel Adams

        May 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      • Nigel – I have kept out of party politics on the blog – the mainstream parties are all legitimate and it is a matter for the British people as to who they elect. I thank you for the spirit in which you have made this comment but I must say I find it profoundly disturbing the number of solicitors who have expressed similar views to yours. If UKIP get any influence at all you can forget about courts ,minority rights ,human rights etc. It is time people realised this. The key role of lawyers is to protect minorities and the weak and vulnerable, not to be complicit in attacking those groups.

        Thanks for the comment
        Kerry

        kerryunderwood

        May 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      • In my post awaiting moderation I should of course have said “admirer of yours” not “or yours”. If my comment “passes” please make the correction. And of course I will fight to the death to criticise whoever you like – and it’s your blog after all. You could add if you like “More power to your elbow!”. Best wishes, Nigel

        Nigel Adams

        May 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm

  2. Who is on the committee???????????

    Andrew Twambley

    May 6, 2015 at 11:42 am

  3. hear hear Brian Varney, Costs Lawyer, ACILEx Supreme Costing Services (In association with Capital Legal Services and Hickmans Legal Costing Services Ltd) 10, Sherwood Close Ashford Kent TN24 9PT Tel. 01233 650717 or 07770 661669 (We do not use fax) DX 30201 Ashford (Kent)

    From: Kerry Underwood To: bavarney1@yahoo.co.uk Sent: Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 11:38 Subject: [New post] CPR COMMITTEE: MORE DANGEROUS THAN UKIP #yiv8478848857 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8478848857 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8478848857 a.yiv8478848857primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8478848857 a.yiv8478848857primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8478848857 a.yiv8478848857primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8478848857 a.yiv8478848857primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8478848857 WordPress.com | kerryunderwood posted: “The Civil Procedure Rules Committee, unelected, unrepresentative, unaccountable and undemocratic, has decided to remove judges from a whole series of judicial functions including deciding applications in relation to the following matters:- amending Part” | |

    Brian Varney

    May 6, 2015 at 11:46 am

  4. Your suggestion that the CPR Committee is ‘more dangerous than UKIP’ reminds me of the old (and, I fear, stale) joke that people become actuaries because they find accountancy too exciting, or of the Revd Sydney Smith’s pronouncement upon someone who had offended him that ‘he deserved to be preached to death by wild curates’. What dangers do UKIP pose to what remains of the legal system, or are you keen that we should just get on with adopting the Code Napoleon in its entirety and have done with all this Magna Carta nonsense?

    Peter

    May 6, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    • If you do not understand what is wrong with UKIP it is pointless me trying to explain.

      kerryunderwood

      May 6, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      • Kerry, I think you have hit on a winning formula here which has the potential to save vast amounts of time and money! I can see immediate applications for it in law (eg ‘My Lord, if you do not understand my client’s case it is pointless me trying to explain’) or education (eg ‘Now children, if you do not understand [insert subject as appropriate] it is pointless me trying to explain’). I’ll give it a go at the next hearing and will let you know how I get on….

        Peter

        May 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      • UKIP are on the far right as you will find out if they ever have any influence. I agree entirely with Mr Cameron’s comments about them.

        kerryunderwood

        May 6, 2015 at 4:15 pm

  5. As always fair comment well made – not sure why people get worked up about UKIP, they are not real…are they?

    Gary Knight

    May 6, 2015 at 4:22 pm

  6. Kerry,

    I wouldn’t fret too much about the CPR Rules Committee, since its purpose is to create the rules that apply in civil courts.

    Given that in a couple of years time there WONT BE any civil courts, apart from the Commercial Court and the all-important Admiratly Registry, there’s no need to fret!

    Claim for PI – the Association of British Insurers / MIB Portal will decide what you get;
    Claim under £10,000 – Kathy from the HMCTS Project Management Change Customer Insight Team (that is no joke – such a team actually does exist!) will decide the case either as a “non-judge judge” or as a “compulsory mediator”.
    Claim over £10,000 – when the court fee becomes £600,000 (which let’s face it is not that far off now) there will be no such claims.

    Dominic Cooper

    May 7, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    • Careful – I am now constantly concerned that even my most ironic and surreal proposals become Ministry of Truth policies!

      kerryunderwood

      May 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm

  7. […] Kerry Underwood (writing pre-election) argues CPR Committee:More dangerous than UKIP […]

  8. I always thought the committee was a pretty rum set up from the get go. In version 1 of CPR 24 in the practise direction it provided that where an application failed the court would normally rule for the other party.
    Needless to say that was quickly amended (deleted) giving rise to the chaotic double jeopardy arrangements which now pertain. A trial on the merits is no longer a right of universal entitlement. It has to “qualified” for somehow according to increasing opaque criteria. I never understand why Lord Woolf doesn’t get more stick for setting up the whole train wreck.

    Root

    May 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm


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