The Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) has given its approval for the launch of a two-year Disclosure Pilot Scheme for cases proceeding in the Business & Property Courts of England and Wales.
The pilot, which is due to commence on 1 January 2019, is a response to increasing demands from disputes practitioners and clients to find more effective ways of tackling the ‘monster’ of electronic disclosure, where the volume of data that parties typically process and disclose can run into many hundreds of gigabytes.
Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court said: ‘I am delighted that the disclosure pilot is now being brought into effect. It is a much-needed and far-sighted reform. There will now be a menu of options available to litigants so that disclosure can be targeted appropriately to the kind of case that is being litigated.’
Ed Crosse, (pictured), immediate past president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) and one of the four members of the Disclosure Working Group responsible for drafting the rules, said: ‘The pilot scheme is much needed and will be a success provided clients, the legal profession and judges truly embrace the new rules.’
Julian Acratopulo, president of the LSLA said: ‘The reforms provide a procedural framework within which litigants can continue to enjoy all the benefits of disclosure in appropriate cases, but with the flexibility to apply a lighter touch, where necessary.
‘This flexible approach is responsive to the feedback of end users and should help to maintain London’s preeminent position on the world litigation stage post-Brexit.’
With some limited exceptions, the scheme will apply to existing and new proceedings across the Business and Property Courts in the Rolls Building and in the centres of Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle for a two-year period, commencing in January 2019.
Copies of the draft Practice Direction and Disclosure Review Documents are available on the Business and Property Court website at www.judiciary.uk.
Flexible approach to be trialled in response to feedback from end users