The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website has published an Update on the operation of the Disclosure Pilot Scheme. Proposed changes reflect an “excellent response” to an invitation for comment, and the result is revised versions of Practice Direction PD51U, of the Disclosure Review Document, and of some appendices. The pilot is to be extended until the end of 2022.
The update summarises the main changes. The most interesting is the separate regime for ‘Less Complex Claims’, with a simplified DRD and new guidance notes. Lists of issues for disclosure have caused considerable difficulty (see my article here for an example), and the changes include provision for making it easier to agree the list.
Disclosure Guidance has also caused difficulty, in part because the wording of the Pilot seemed simultaneously to play up the need for a guidance hearing while using language more applicable to a contentious hearing. The ideal is that parties have enough guidance to enable them to sort out most difficulties while having prompt access to the court if they really can’t agree. That, of course, requires more than a revised statement in the rules – access to the court may be harder to get within a tight timetable.
Rachel Rothwell has an article in the Law Society Gazette which picks out some further details.