Civil court proceedings generally involve any matter that is not criminal.
For civil cases in England and Wales, the processes, rules and guidelines for litigation solicitors in the vast majority of civil court proceedings are contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR), which were introduced in 1999 to simplify and speed up the legal system.
The Civil Procedure Rules are used by litigation solicitors in almost all civil cases, but do not apply to cases in the following areas:
- Non-contentious or common form probate
- Mental Capacity Act
- Family law proceedings
- Adoption proceedings
- Election petitions in the High Court
The Civil Procedure Rules
The CPR were written to provide litigation solicitors and members of the public looking to represent themselves with clear guidance on the way to go about bringing a civil court case.
The rules provide a framework for allocating cases to different ‘tracks’ based on the value of the claim, and in each case provide a timetable for litigation. By reducing the time taken up by each case, the rules aim to reduce the cost of going to court, and in doing so to improve access to the civil justice system for everyone.
Under the CPR, cases are commenced when the party bringing the case submits a claim form.
The defendant is given 14 days to reply with an acknowledgement of service. If they fail to do so the claimant can apply for a default judgement. If the defendant does file an acknowledgement of service, they then have 28 days to file their defence. If the defendant fails to file their defence the claimant can also apply for a default judgement.
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