The English Court Process: A guide for parties from outside the jurisdiction
13 May 2014
The English courts are regularly chosen as the forum for the resolution of disputes, even between parties who do not have any other link to the jurisdiction. English judges are used to dealing with cases where one or both parties are not located within the jurisdiction and regularly deal with cases where initial applications concern a dispute over jurisdiction. This guide provides an outline of the civil litigation process in the English courts. It sets out the key points to bear in mind when bringing or defending a claim in England.
The Civil Procedure Rules (the “CPR”) and case management
All civil claims in the English courts are subject to the CPR, a procedural code with the overriding objective of dealing with cases justly and at a proportionate cost. The CPR impose on the courts an express duty to manage cases to ensure their efficient progress. This includes, for example:
- encouraging co-operation and settlement between the parties (including the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) if appropriate);
- identifying the issues in the case and deciding the order in which these issues should be dealt with;
- deciding on timetables and directions to ensure the efficient handling of the case; and
- where possible minimising court attendance by the parties and dealing with as many aspects of the case as is possible on the same occasion.
The courts monitor cases from commencement through to trial to ensure that they are managed efficiently and proportionately according to the amount of money involved, the importance of the case, its complexity and the financial position of each party.
In addition, the courts will expect parties to cooperate with each other and failure to do so may result in a costs order being made against a party who is acting unreasonably.
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