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Civil Procedure Rules

This content applies to England & Wales

This section defines the Civil Procedure Rules.

All cases are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The rules are supplemented by a number of practice directions, which provide more detailed information on the relevant part of the CPR and set out procedures that aim to achieve consistency in practice.

The overriding objective of the CPR is to enable the courts to deal with cases 'justly'. Dealing with a case justly includes the following, so far as is practicable:[1]

  • ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing
  • saving expense
  • dealing with the case in ways which are proportionate:
    • to the amount of money involved
    • to the importance of the case
    • to the complexity of the issues, and
    • to the financial position of each party
  • ensuring that the case is dealt with expeditiously and fairly, and
  • allocating an appropriate share of the court's resources to the case, while taking into account the need to allot resources to other cases.

As well as rules and practice directions, advisers also need to check whether one of the Pre-action protocols applies to a particular case. For example, there is a pre-action protocol for disrepair cases and for judicial review cases. Pre-action protocols outline the steps that the parties to a case should take before starting a claim. Courts expect parties to comply with the terms of protocols and may penalise a party who does not comply by ordering them to pay more of the costs of the proceedings.

[1] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 1.1.

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