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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Thursday 15 November 2018

New Civil And Family Procedure Rules

Some of this is a bit technical so don't throw a brick through my computer if you don't dig it!

The civil procedure update number - wait for it -101 comes, into force on 08 November 2018. Nothing over exciting unless you are likely to be involved in an application to set aside judgment in the county courts at Birmingham or Manchester. Any such applications there could be dealt with by way of  video link under a 12 month pilot scheme which will be the forerunner to more extensive video hearings. But, under the pilot, only if both sides agree. Though the parties will be in the bath or lounging on the sofa during these video hearings, it will be open to any member of the public to view what is going on at the court. See you there? OK, so you're your filing your fingernails until 08 November 2019.

Also dealt with by the latest civil update are the powers of legal advisers to make decisions which are normally made only by judges. At present, they can deal with consent applications to grant permission for the filing of a counterclaim after a defence has gone in. In future, they will be able to deal with applications of this kind even though there is an absence of consent so long as the counterclaim limitation period has not expired.

Over in the family jurisdiction, the Family Procedure (Amendment No 2 ) Rules 2018 SI/2018/1171 come into force on 10 December 2018. The main change there  is that appeals to the High Court in family cases are likely to be in public rather than in private. The reason for the change is that these appeals used to go to the Court of Appeal where they were in public even though they had been in private in the courts below. But those appeals were generally rerouted to the High Court in October 2016. The unintended consequence of this is that the public hearing was lost. The change addresses this situation. The court can be expected to impose reporting restrictions on any public appeal hearings when children are involved.

And if you are Welch, then the other change will burst you open with excitement. Following the recent lead in civil cases, the Welsh language will be getting recognition in family cases too. In family proceedings in Wales, the Welsh language will be used by any person who desires it and any document placed before the court in family proceedings in or having a connection  with Wales can be in English or Welsh.