Civil Justice Council consultation on pre-action protocols – Law Society response
The Civil Justice Council (CJC) is reviewing how to make pre-action protocols more effective and streamlined. We responded in December 2021.
In November 2021, the CJC published an interim report for consultation on pre-action protocols.
The consultation seeks feedback on potential reforms, such as making pre-action protocols:
- more accessible and available through online portals
- more user-friendly for litigants-in-person
- compulsory (to a degree) before starting court proceedings
The proposals also introduce concepts such as:
- a ‘good faith obligation’ that seeks to narrow down the dispute before going to court
- a ‘joint stocktake’ between parties before starting proceedings
We do not believe that now is a suitable time to reform pre-action protocols because:
- many other areas of civil justice are being reformed, and
- the pre-action protocols work reasonably well in general (although there are some exceptions)
What this means for solicitors
Future reforms to pre-action protocols may significantly change how civil litigators and other practitioners conduct dispute resolution.
A pre-action protocol sets out what must be done in relation to a specific claim before court proceedings are issued.
Currently, there are 17 pre-action protocols relating to areas such as:
- personal injury
- judicial review
There’s also a Practice Direction on pre-action conduct where no specific protocol applies.
The consultation closed on 22 January 2022.
The Civil Justice Council will review the responses and publish recommendations in a final report.