What are the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR)?

The Civil Procedure Rules are a unified code of procedural rules that govern the way in which a case in court is conducted in England and Wales. They apply to all proceedings in county courts, the High Court and the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal.

Their aim is to enable courts to deal with cases justly and streamlining the civil justice process by resolving as many cases as possible without resorting to court proceedings.

Courts are required to "actively manage cases", and the Civil Procedure Rules state that this means 'encouraging the parties to use an alternative dispute resolution procedure if the court considers that appropriate, and facilitating the use of such procedure.

What do I need to know about CPR to win my case?

The Civil Procedure Rules give a structured procedure to what you should do before you start a claim.

Together the Civil Procedure Rules and Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) set effective and enforceable standards for the efficient conduct of pre-action behaviour, they direct what you need to do before issuing a court claim and through the court process.

Essentially, you must comply with pre-action protocol.

How much does it cost to meet the CPR requirements?

Your aim is to demonstrate that you have endeavoured to reach settlement before going to court. The requirement of "proportionality" is intended to ensure that parties do not spend too much time or money dealing with the pre-action steps so your pre-action preparation should be in proportion to the value and complexity of the claim.

The issue of proportionality is now on the same footing as dealing with cases justly and CPR1.1 has been amended to reflect this. Since 1st April 2013 cases must be dealt with justly and at proportionate cost.

In addition to following the rules you must also consider the use of some form of alternative/appropriate dispute resolution if you cannot reach agreement to settle.

When deciding on costs, courts must take into account 'the efforts made, if any, before and during the proceedings in order to try to resolve the dispute'. In practice this has meant that if you refuse to consider some type of alternative dispute resolution, and the judge thinks that your refusal is unreasonable, you may end up paying the other side's costs, even if you win the case.

What are the rules for making offers under CPR?

It is considered to be in the public interest for parties to settle their differences out of court if possible and the ability to make Without Prejudice offers helps to facilitate settlement. Offers are normally drafted in the form set out in Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

At any point in the proceedings (or before you issue proceedings) either party may make an offer to the other party.

An offer which is "without prejudice save as to costs" cannot be shown to the judge before he pronounces judgment, but once judgment has been given, the “without prejudice save as to costs” offers, in the form set out in Part 36 of the CPR, are shown to the judge and can be taken into account by the judge in deciding whether to order one party to pay the other's costs.