The latest update to the Civil Procedure Rules came into force on 1 October 2010. Perhaps the most significant updates relate to the disclosure of electronic documents (Part 31 and Practice Direction 31B) and the procedure for appealing arbitration awards (Practice Direction 62).

In relation to electronic disclosure, the newly introduced Practice Direction 31B aims to regulate the approach that should be taken with regards to material which is relevant to a case and which is stored electronically. Procedures are set down to ensure that parties discuss electronic documents and disclosure early on in the case, and the Electronic Documents Questionnaire is introduced to enable the parties to provide information to each other on the scope and extent of their electronic disclosure.

The amendments to Practice Direction 62 aim to regulate the materials which are submitted to the court in relation to applications for permission to appeal arbitration awards. Only certain documents may be placed before the court, and limits are placed on the length of parties’ skeleton arguments. The aim appears to be to ensure that the court is only provided with what it absolutely needs in such an application.

A note has been produced on the updates most relevant to the Shipping Group. This can be found on ReSearch and in hardcopy in the Shipping Know How folders(in the CPR General, Disclosure and Arbitration files).