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Cover A Practical Approach to Effective Litigation

13. Joining the Right Parties  

The accurate identification of parties is vital in an adversarial system. There must be a clear cause of action by the party named as claimant against the party named as defendant or the action will fail. Loss and damage must be also shown to have been caused to the named claimant by the named defendant or damages will not be recoverable. This chapter first discusses the selection of claimants and defendants, and other types of involvement (agency, vicarious liability, the role of insurance, substitution of parties). Where a business is a party to an action, it may be run by a sole trader, by a partnership, by a company, or by a public limited partnership. The correct legal personality must be used for the proper service of documents, for success in the action, and for enforcement of judgment. The remainder of the chapter covers the rules for specific types of parties; additional claims and additional parties under Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 20; and the drafting of the Part 20 claim.

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2. An Overview of the Litigation Process  

This chapter provides an overview of the main stages of the litigation process. It first describes the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 and the accompanying Practice Directions, which provide a basis for civil litigation, as well as the adversarial approach and the right to a fair trial. It then explains the various stages of the litigation process, beginning with the pre-action stage, which involves gathering appropriate information, evaluating the case, taking key decisions about framing the case, and building a working relationship with the other side. This is followed by discussions on starting an action; statements of case (i.e. defining the parties, the issues between the parties, and remedies sought); interim stages and case management; options for interrupting or ending litigation; preparations for trial; trial and judgment; and cases with an international element.

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20. Additional Claims under Part 20  

This chapter discusses the rules for additional claims under Part 20 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR). An additional claim typically will seek to pass any liability established against the defendant to a third party. This is achieved by seeking indemnities, contributions, or related remedies against the third party. A third party may in turn seek to pass on its liability to a fourth party, and so on. Permission to issue an additional claim is not required if the additional claim is issued before or at the same time as the defendant files its defence. An additional claim operates as a separate claim within the original claim.

Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure

8. Part 8 Claims and Petitions  

This chapter discusses Part 8 claims and petitions, which are forms of originating process. Most types of proceedings which have to be brought by either Part 8 claim form or petition are very narrow and specialized, but some are of great importance. The most important types of proceedings which must be commenced by petition are those for divorce, judicial separation, bankruptcy, and the winding-up of companies.

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33. Hearsay  

This chapter considers the admissibility of and procedural matters relating to hearsay evidence in civil cases. Hearsay evidence is where a witness gives evidence of facts they have not personally experienced for the purpose of proving the truth of those facts. Hearsay may be written or oral, and may be first-hand, second-hand, etc. Evidence is no longer excluded in civil cases solely on the ground that it is hearsay. However, in practice, trial judges give limited weight to hearsay evidence.

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35. Experts  

This chapter discusses the principles governing the use of expert evidence in civil claims. It covers the admissibility of expert evidence; control of evidence; choice of expert; privileged nature of experts’ reports; disclosure of experts’ reports; written questions to experts; examinations by experts; experts’ immunity from suit; and use of experts’ reports after trial.

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26. Security for Costs  

The question of who pays for the costs of a claim is generally not determined until the claim is finally disposed of, whether by consent, interim process, or trial. However, an order for security for costs can be made against a party in the position of a claimant. Once security is given it may be retained, subject to the court’s discretion, pending an appeal. An order for security for costs usually requires the claimant to pay money into court as security for the payment of any costs order that may eventually be made in favour of the defendant, and staying the claim until the security is provided. On the application three issues arise: (i) whether one of the conditions for ordering security for costs is satisfied; (ii) if so, whether, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it would be just to exercise the court’s discretion in favour of making the order; and (iii) if so, how much security should be provided. This chapter considers each of these three issues. It begins by looking at the procedure for making the application and the capacity of the respondent to the application.

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29. Multi-Track  

The multi-track deals with a vast range of cases, from simple contractual disputes involving little more than £25,000, to complex commercial cases involving difficult issues of fact and law with values of several million pounds, to cases where perhaps no money is at stake but which raise points of real public importance. Cases on the multi-track will generally be dealt with either in the Royal Courts of Justice or other civil trial centre. This chapter discusses agreed directions; case management conferences; fixing the date for trial; pre-trial checklists; listing hearings; pre-trial review; directions given at other hearings; and variation of case management timetable.

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7. Renewal of Process  

After proceedings commence by issuing a claim form or other originating process, they must be brought to the attention of the defendants or respondents by service. Generally, originating process remains valid for the purpose of service for a period of four months. Service of proceedings marks a watershed in the litigation process. It is at this point that the defendant is put on formal notice that legal proceedings have been brought, and the time limit on service of proceedings is one which is relaxed with extreme caution. This chapter discusses periods of validity; power to renew; claims in respect of cargo carried by sea; multiple defendants; effect of stay; procedure on seeking an extension; and challenging an order granting an extension.

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12. Responding to a Claim  

This chapter discusses the procedure for defendants responding to the claim. A defendant who intends to contest proceedings must respond to the claim by filing an acknowledgment of service and/or by filing a defence. Defended claims become subject to the court’s case management system, with the court making provisional track allocation decisions, followed by the parties filing directions questionnaires. If a defendant fails to make any response to a claim a default judgment is usually entered within a relatively short period after service.

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13. Default Judgment  

Judgment in default may be entered where the defendant fails to defend a claim. It produces a judgment in favour of a claimant without holding a trial. This chapter discusses when default judgment may be entered; cases excluded from judgment in default; entering default judgment; final judgment and judgment for an amount to be decided; deciding the amount of damages; setting aside default judgments; and stay of undefended cases.

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27. Small Claims Track  

The Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) provide for the allocation of claims with a limited financial value to what is known as the small claims track. This is intended to provide a streamlined procedure with limited pre-trial preparation, with very restricted rules on the recovery of costs from the losing party, and without the strict rules of evidence. It is appropriate for the most straightforward types of cases, such as consumer disputes, accident claims where the injuries suffered are not very serious, disputes about the ownership of goods, and landlord and tenant cases other than claims for possession. This chapter discusses provisions of the CPR that do not apply; standard and special directions of the court; determination without a hearing; final hearings in small claims track cases; cost restrictions for claims allocated to the small claims track; and rehearings.

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31. Disclosure  

The Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR) require the parties to give advance notice to their opponents of all the material documentation in their control. This is done in two stages. At the first stage the parties send each other lists of documents, a process called ‘disclosure’. The second stage is ‘inspection’, which is the process by which the other side can request copies of documents appearing in the list of documents, typically with photocopies being provided by the disclosing party. This chapter discusses these processes. It covers lawyers’ and clients’ responsibilities; the stage when disclosure takes place; disclosure orders; standard disclosure; menu option disclosure; duty to search; list of documents; privilege; inspection; orders in support of disclosure; documents referred to in statements of case, etc.; admission of authenticity; and collateral use.

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34. Admissions and Documentary Evidence  

This chapter discusses the rules relating to the proof of admissions and documents at trial. It covers the nature of admissions; pre-action admissions of liability; permission to withdraw an admission; notice to admit facts; and proving documents.

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39. Trial  

This chapter discusses the issues that need to be addressed in the period leading up to a trial. These include contacting witnesses to ensure their availability; obtaining witness summonses where appropriate; briefing trial counsel; agreeing and compiling trial bundles; and counsel preparing speeches, examination-in-chief, and cross-examination of witnesses.

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4. Overriding Objective and Human Rights  

This chapter discusses the sources of procedural law, the general principles relevant to civil procedure established by the overriding objective, the European Convention on Human Rights, and some rules on how the courts approach construing the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR). The CPR and practice directions (PDs) are the procedural rules governing civil proceedings. The most important rule is the ‘overriding objective’ of dealing with claims justly and at proportionate cost. The most important Convention rights in civil litigation are the right to a fair trial, the right to respect for private and family life, and the right to freedom of expression.

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6. Issuing and Serving  

Civil proceedings commence with the issuance of a claim form. Issuing a claim involves the court sealing the claim form with its official seal. This chapter discusses issuing and serving proceedings. It covers the claim form; jurisdictional endorsements; particulars of claim; specialist claims; issuing a claim form; service of the claim form; deemed date of service of the claim form; service of documents other than a claim form; deemed date of service (non-claim form documents); certificate of service; irregular service; and filing of documents at court.

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Cover A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure

11. Service Outside the Jurisdiction  

This chapter deals with jurisdiction in England and Wales. Proceedings generally have to be served within the jurisdiction. There always has to be a sound basis before proceedings can be served outside the jurisdiction. Where the parties have an exclusive jurisdiction clause in favour of the courts of England and Wales, proceedings may be commenced against a defendant who is outside the jurisdiction pursuant to the Hague Convention 2005, and served on the defendant without seeking court permission. In other cases, if jurisdiction can be established against a defendant who is outside the jurisdiction under the CPR, r 6.36 and PD 6B, para 3.1, proceedings can be served outside the jurisdiction only with the permission of the court. The times for responding to claims served outside the jurisdiction are extended.

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Cover A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure

16. Costs Management  

Costs management refers to the procedures used by the courts to manage the steps to be taken in civil proceedings while also managing the costs to be incurred by the parties in taking those steps to ensure that litigation is conducted at proportionate cost. This chapter discusses the elements of costs management; cases governed by costs management; costs management orders; costs budgets and case management; judicial control of costs budgets; and impact on costs orders.

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28. Fast Track  

The fast track provides a ‘no-frills’ procedure for medium-sized cases that do not justify the detailed and meticulous preparation appropriate for complex and important cases. Instead, cases allocated to this track will be progressed to trial within a short timescale after the filing of a defence. The fast track covers the majority of defended claims within the £10,000–£25,000 monetary band. It also deals with non-monetary claims such as injunctions, declarations, and claims for specific performance which are unsuitable for the small claims track and do not require the more complex treatment of the multi-track. This chapter covers directions for cases allocated to the fast track; standard fast track timetable; agreed directions; varying the directions timetable; listing for trial; fast track trial; and costs in fast track cases.