The 73rd Update to the Civil Procedure Rules comes into force on 5 June 2014.
Rule 3.8 dealing with the court’s case management powers is amended to provide that parties may agree, in writing, to an extension of time, up to a maximum of 28 days without an application to the court. The parties may not make such an agreement, if the court has ordered that such an agreement cannot be made, or if any extension of time agreed puts the hearing date at risk.
If you are involved in litigation or indeed in the administration of the court system then you will be aware that this is an important step. In the landmark ruling of ANDREW MITCHELL MP v NEWS GROUP NEWSPAPERS LTD (2013) the Court of Appeal decided that Relief from sanctions would not be granted where deadlines were overlooked, so solicitors should not take on so much work that they were unable to meet them. As a result there has been a flood of applications to the court, where previously parties may have agreed small extensions of time as between themselves without the need to involve the court.
It is to be hoped that this, the 73rd amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules, will prove to be a useful one and will help to relieve some of the pressure on the creaking court system.