The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2009 come into force on 1 October 2009, unless otherwise stated below.

Set out below are the main changes that appear in these amendments that are of relevance to commercial disputes, aside from changes to simply clarify or tidy up unnecessarily complicated text.

Amendments to rules and practice directions

1 Consequential amendments are made throughout the CPR in relation to implementation of Constitutional Reform Act 2005 relation to the creation of the new UK Supreme Court.

2 Part 35 and Practice Direction – Experts and assessors

Amendments clarify the definition of an expert and provide guidance to reduce any inconsistency regarding the appointment of single joint experts.

From 1 October the expert’s statement of truth will be “I confirm that I have made clear which facts and matters referred to in this report are within my own knowledge and which are not. Those that are within my own knowledge I confirm to be true. The opinions I have expressed represent my true and complete professional opinions on the matters to which they refer.”

Paragraph 13.5 of the Protocol and PD 35.3.2(9) introduce a new requirement for experts’ reports to contain statements that the expert is aware of the requirements of CPR 35, PD 35, the Protocol and the Practice Direction on Pre-action Conduct (PDPAC).

Amendments codify existing practice to ensure that the questions posed to experts are proportionate and appropriate.

Consequential amendments are made to the annex, PD28 and PD29.

3 Part 44 and Practice Direction – General rules about costs

Parties will now be required to notify other parties of the existence of and provide information about an after the event insurance premium. Penalties can be applied where the existence of a premium is not disclosed. A defendant who admits liability and offers to settle within a specified period after notification of an ATE premium will not incur liability for payment of the claimant’s ATE insurance policy if the matter settles without court proceedings.

Publication proceedings are defined. Consequential amendments are made to the PD on pre-action conduct. Transitional provisions are set out at paragraph 19.6 of the PD.

4 Part 49 and Practice Direction 49A – Specialist proceedings

Minor amendments are made consequential on the implementation of the remaining sections of the Companies Act 2006. Consequential amendments are made to Part 6, Part 74 and PD39.

5 Practice Directions 51B, 51C & 51D – Pilot Schemes

The Automatic Orders Pilot Scheme, which allows some orders to be made automatically without judicial intervention, is extended to all county courts and the High Court. The pilot will run for one year. It applies to claims where (1) all parties request a stay of proceedings for one month; (2) any party fails to file an allocation questionnaire; or (3) in cases with only one claimant and one defendant and which are allocated to the fast track, a party fails to file a pre-trial checklist

A pilot scheme designed to allow the introduction of IT systems to the Admiralty, Commercial and London Mercantile Courts is introduced. This scheme commenced on 1 April 2009.

A pilot scheme will run in the Royal Courts of Justice and High Court in Manchester in relation to defamation, libel and malicious falsehood cases only. Consequential amendments are made to PD29. See the separate briefing note by Tom Webley for full details.

6 Part 63 and Practice Direction – Intellectual Property Claims

References to legislation are updated and amendments reflect substantive changes including product description and processed description. Allocation of claims, such as claims relating to Community registered designs, between the Patent Court and the patents county court is set out. There is potentially a longer period for a defendant to file his defence in a claim for infringement of a patent or registered design. New CPR 63.14(3) provides that where a party seeks any remedy which would, if granted, affect an entry in any UK Intellectual Property register, the party must serve a copy of the relevant statement of case and accompanying documents on the Comptroller or Registrar.

Part 63 of the CPR has been re-named as ‘Intellectual Property Claim’ to reflect these changes and consequential amendments to PD2B are made.

7 Part 68 and Practice Direction – References to the European Court

The rules are clarified as to the length and content of references sent to the European Court of Justice. Further amendments are made to assist in processing requests for those preliminary rulings by providing a streamlined procedure for courts.

New Court Forms

8 Form N260 Statement of Costs (Summary Assessment) is amended.