On 1 October 2009 the Supreme Court will assume the judicial role of the House of Lords. New rules governing the practice and procedure to be followed in the Supreme Court have been published in the Supreme Court Rules 2009. The overriding objective of the rules is to ensure that the Supreme Court is "accessible, fair and efficient".

There are few substantive differences between the new rules and the existing rules. Some of the differences include:

  • the new rules no longer refer to "petitions" but to "applications for permission to appeal" and "notices of appeal"
  • the term "leave" has been replaced by "permission" to bring it in line with the Civil Procedure Rules
  • the time limit for filing an appeal has been reduced from one month to 28 days
  • the new rules are less prescriptive about how the parties should frame their cases and the presentation of documents for appeal hearings
  • the Supreme Court Judges will be able to make costs orders on the standard and indemnity basis.

As a result of the creation of the Supreme Court, you should be aware of changes to terminology which will take place and have an important practical impact. From 1 October 2009:

  • a solicitor of the Supreme Court will be a solicitor of the Senior Courts. Where witness statements and affidavits are drafted by a solicitor, they should refer to themselves in the statement/affidavit as a solicitor of the Senior Courts and not as a solicitor of the Supreme Court
  • the Supreme Court Act 1981 will be the Senior Courts Act 1981. When issuing a claim form in the High Court, interest (if the right arises) should therefore be claimed pursuant to section 35A of the Senior Courts Act 1981 rather than the Supreme Court Act 1981
  • the Royal Courts of Justice will be known as the High Court and not the Supreme Court
  • all High Court seals will be changed and will refer to the Senior Courts rather than the Supreme Court.