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Part 8 - alternative procedure

This content applies to England & Wales

The Part 8 procedure, which is used where a rule or practice direction requires or permits it, or where the claimant seeks the court's decision on a question that is unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact.

When part 8 is used

The Part 8 procedure is used for the following claims:

  • where a rule or practice direction requires or permits the use of the Part 8 procedure, or
  • where the claimant seeks the court's decision on a question that is unlikely to involve a substantial dispute of fact.

The following rules do not apply to Part 8 claims:

  • Part 16, which deals with procedures for claim forms and particulars of claim.
  • Part 15, which deals with filing a defence and making a counterclaim.
  • Part 26, which deals with the procedure for allocation to a track (but see below).

However, the information concerning statements of truth, covered in the section on Part 7 - general procedure, is relevant to Part 8 claims.

The practice direction to Part 8 sets out those cases that may and those that must be brought under Part 8.

Fixed date procedure

Within Part 8 there is also a procedure (called the fixed date procedure), which must be used in certain cases, for example claims under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997. Its use is optional in some other cases.

Fixed date cases are those where the court sets a final hearing date (also known as the 'return date') when it issues the claim form instead of waiting to fix a date after the parties have complied with directions. This is because the cases are considered to be straightforward. At least 21 days' notice of the hearing must be given to both parties.[1] The defendant is not required to file a reply, acknowledgement of service or a defence to the court on receipt of the court papers.[2] At the hearing, the court can hear and deal with the claim or give case management directions concerning how the case will be dealt with.[3]

Claim form

In certain cases the Civil Procedure Rules specify which form must be used to commence the claim, for example an application for an injunction under the Housing Act 1996.[4]

If no form is prescribed, the Part 8 claim form N208 must be used.

The claim form must state the question the claimant wants the court to decide and the remedy sought. The claimant must file any written evidence on which s/he intends to rely when s/he files the claim form.[5] No written evidence of the claimant or defendant may be used at the hearing unless it was filed with the court and served on the other party, or the court has given permission at the hearing for it to be used.

Defendant

The defendant must file an acknowledgement of service not more than 14 days after the service of the claim form and file any written evidence upon which s/he intends to rely.[6] If the defendant fails to file an acknowledgement of service, s/he may attend the hearing but may not take part in the hearing unless the court gives permission.[7] When the court receives the acknowledgement, it will give instructions to the parties about how the case will be dealt with.

A defendant who objects to the use of the Part 8 procedure, for example, because there is a substantial dispute of fact in the case, must state her/his reasons when filing the acknowledgement of service.[8]

A defendant who wishes to make a counterclaim, for example, for damages for breach of obligations to repair in response to a possession claim, has to apply for the court's permission.[9]

Allocation to a track

The claim will be treated as if it has been allocated to the 'multi-track' (see the section on Allocating a case to a track for more information).[10] The court may give directions for the management of the claim as soon as the claim is issued, or when the acknowledgement of service is filed or when the time for filing the acknowledgement of service has expired. The court may fix a hearing date on issue or may convene a directions hearing before giving any directions.[11]

[1] Civil Procedure Rules, Practice Direction 8.10.

[2] Civil Procedure Rules, Practice Direction 8.12.

[3] Civil Procedure Rules, Practice Direction 8.13.

[4] Such injunction applications are subject to a specialised Part 8 procedure: Civil Procedure Rules rule 65.2 - 65.7.

[5] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 8.5(1).

[6] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 8.5(3).

[7] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 8.4.

[8] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 8.8.

[9] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 8.7 and Practice Direction 20.

[10] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 8.9(c).

[11] Civil Procedure Rules, Practice Direction 8.4.1.

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