On 6 April 2009, the new Practice Direction which supplements Civil Procedure Rule 3 came into force. The new Practice Direction is entitled “Practice Direction – Pre-Action Conduct (PDPAC)”. PDPAC outlines the conduct that the court will expect of parties prior to the start of proceedings in all claims commenced after 6 April 2009. Although compliance with PDPAC is not mandatory, the courts have the power to seek an explanation of the parties preaction conduct in cases where proceedings are started after 6 April 2009.

Certain sections of the PDPAC apply to all cases, including those where there is a specific preaction protocol in place. S3 applies to the parties’ conduct in cases where no specific preaction protocol applies. Specific topics that are covered by the PDPAC include ADR, costs, disclosure, experts, issuing a claim and limitation.