REUTERS | Goran Tomasevic

Looking ahead: what to expect in 2016

Happy New Year all! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store.

As exciting as a new year is, it can be quite daunting to not know what’s lying in wait over the next 12 months. Wouldn’t it be great if we could look into a crystal ball and get an idea of what’s on its way?

Well, while you may not be able to find out if you’re going to win the lottery this year, you can at least feel prepared when it comes to upcoming changes in civil litigation procedure, as the Practical Law Dispute Resolution team has put together a helpful overview of what to expect in 2016. In this blog post I have highlighted some of the pending changes that caught my eye.

For example, the costs management rules and practice direction are due to be amended with effect from April 2016. Papers from recent CPRC meetings suggest that the changes will include, among others:

  • Clarification of the time for service of budgets.
  • The introduction of “budget discussion reports”, setting out the figures for each phase, showing which are agreed and which are not, with a summary of the grounds of dispute.
  • A reduction in how much of Precedent H must be completed where the value of a claim is less than £50,000, as well as when budgeted costs do not exceed £25,000.

Following publication of its most recent consultation, the MoJ has announced its intention to implement fee increases of 10% across the full range of civil proceedings “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.

Briggs LJ is expected to continue his review of the structure of the civil courts, with an interim report expected shortly. Topics that are being reviewed include:

  • Consideration of the creation of an online court.
  • Proposals to make greater use of delegated judicial officers.
  • An examination of the scope and function of the County Court and High Court.
  • Reviewing the routes of appeal in light of the Court of Appeal’s heavy workload.

In terms of judgments that are expected in the coming year, in July 2016 the Supreme Court is due to hear the appeal of Excalibur v Texas Keystone, in which third party litigation funders were held to be jointly and severally liable to pay the defendants’ costs on the indemnity basis in the unsuccessful claim that they had funded.

Other developments that drew my attention include:

More detail on the changes outlined here, along with many others, can be found in our What to expect in 2016 article. In addition to this, we have put together a timeline of key dates for dispute resolution practitioners. Read these in conjunction with our Top ten tips from 2015 article, which highlights practical tips for litigators from some of last year’s significant cases, and you should hopefully feel fully prepared for the year ahead (which would be almost as good as winning the lottery).

Practical Law Dispute Resolution Jennifer Tyson

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