New practice direction allows parties to agree up to 56 day extension in light of COVID-19
The Civil Procedure Rule Committee (“CPRC”) has issued a new Practice Direction 51ZA, which sets out that until 30 October 2020, the provision in CPR Rule.3.8 allowing parties to agree an extension of up to 28 days, has been doubled to 56 days. This will allow parties to agree longer extensions of time to comply with procedural time limits due to the coronavirus. The new Practice Direction can be found here.
Any extension required over the new 56 day period will still require the permission of the court. The application for permission will be considered on the papers, and a reconsideration at a hearing.
The change by the CPRC follows pressure from numerous legal groups over litigation during the coronavirus crisis. Yesterday, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) issued guidance agreeing a set of standard practices. The guidance issued to both claimant and defendant lawyers provides that personal injury firms should temporarily agree to accept service by email and freeze limitation periods during the Covid-19 crisis.
This comes shortly after Thompsons and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) launched a protocol to ensure neither side in personal injury litigation should seek to take advantage of the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the above, the 118th update to the Civil Procedure Rules also includes a small change to new Practice Direction 51Y, on open justice in remote hearings. It makes it clear that any person seeking permission to listen to or view a recording of a hearing can simply request it and is not required to make a formal application.
If you have any queries relation to a Personal Injury claim which you would like to discuss or to discuss the possibility of making a personal injury claim, please contact Kirsty Handyside on 01202 057738 or by email.