Can I agree an extension of more than 28 days to a witness statement exchange on a civil litigation matter?

Yes. Practice Direction 51ZA of the Civil Procedure Rules - Coronavirus, effective from 2 April 2020, seeks to address the issue of extensions of time.

It makes provision for parties to agree extensions of time to comply with procedural time limits in the Civil Procedure Rules, Practice Directions and court orders.

Parties can agree an extension of up to 56 days without formally notifying the court so long as that does not jeopardise the hearing date.

Any extension of more than 56 days needs to be agreed by the court.

Practice Direction 51ZA ceases to have effect on 30 October 2020.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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