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Re-issue of Pre-Action Protocols

Practitioners should be aware that new Pre-Action Protocols in respect of Personal Injury, Clinical Negligence, Professional Negligence, Judicial Review, Housing Disrepair and Possession Claims by Social Landlords all came into force on 6 April 2015.

Some of the changes affect all of the above Protocols. For example all Protocols now contain a provision requiring parties to carry out a ‘Stocktake’ before issuing proceedings to ensure all avenues for settlement have been explored and to avoid litigation if at all possible.

The most significant changes are contained in the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords. Part 3 of this Protocol seeks to ensure in cases where Article 8 of the ECHR is raised the necessary information is before the court so that issues of proportionality may be dealt with summarily, or appropriate directions given for trial.  These changes have been included following the decisions Doherty v Birmingham City Council [2008] UKHL 57 and Pinnock v Leeds City Council [2010] UKSC 45. Social landlords should be aware in particular of Paragraphs 3 .2 and 3.3 of the new Protocol, which require that a particulars of claim or any witness statement filed in support of the application for possession should include a schedule summarising (a) that the landlord invited the tenant to make representations of any personal circumstances which may affect proceedings; (b) if representations were made that they were considered ;(c) brief reasons for bringing proceedings; and (d) copies of any documents the social landlord wishes the court to consider on the issue of proportionality.

Other changes to the Protocols are less dramatic but no less significant. The Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury claims remains largely untouched save that the new paragraph 1.7 clarifies that the Protocol applies to a party in person. Meanwhile the Housing Disrepair Protocol has removed the need for an early notification letter and includes a glossary and a specimen costs schedule.

There Protocols were not included in the 2015 edition of the White Book. They will be included in the upcoming second supplement to the 2015 edition. In the meantime you can obtain a text of the relevant Protocol at:

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/pdf/preview/pre-action-protocol-amendments-6-april.pdf

Vaughan Jacob / 1st May 2015


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