03 September 2018
Reservations towards CPR Changes
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has expressed reservations towards proposals to make lawyers share notes on court hearings with the opposing side if they are unrepresented.
The recommendation, made by the Civil Procedure Rules Committee (CPRC), would introduce ‘judge-directed’ note sharing between parties to help litigants in person understand what happened in hearings.
CILEx recognised the benefits this could have for the increasing number of unrepresented parties coming to the courts, but cautioned that this new rule may be easier said than done.
The new rule risks placing an obligation on lawyers to create a note that is accurate and free of misinterpretation, that is comprehensive whilst protecting client confidentiality, and that a litigant in person feels that they can trust.
CILEx is concerned that the practical difficulties of accomplishing this, and increasing costs for the represented party, could cause strain to both lawyer and client alike.
A CILEx spokesperson said; “Litigants in person require meaningful support from our justice system, but if they’re sceptical of the guidance they receive it could do more harm than good. An informal note from the opposing side’s lawyer should not be used as a substitute for official transcripts, nor should litigants be expected to rely on them when making important decisions, such as whether to appeal.”
Responding to the CPRC’s consultation, CILEx also welcomed parallel proposals to make it harder to hold hearings in private, unless it is necessary for the proper administration of justice.
Click here to read CILEx’s full consultation response.