After eight years of discussion and consultation, the long awaited civil justice reforms are due to roll out in Hong Kong on 2 April 2009. The reforms aim to improve the cost-effectiveness of the civil procedure system and to reduce complexity and delays in litigation. Rather than replacing the existing rules, the reforms will amend the current regime, cherry picking what are considered to be some of the best aspects of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), the civil justice reforms introduced in England & Wales in 1999. For example, the new Hong Kong procedure introduces the concept of "underlying objectives", similar to the overriding objective of the CPR, pleadings are to be verified by a statement of truth and active case management by the court is integral to the reforms. The underlying objectives incorporate the court's duty to actively manage cases and the parties' duty to help the court to do so and will be of central importance in the way in which the rules are implemented and interpreted. Click here for the first briefing in a four part monthly series on the reforms by our Hong Kong litigation department.