The London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) has stepped up its attack on how the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has handled implementation the Jackson reforms, saying the roll-out of the regulations and directions is “shambolic”.
A statutory instrument with changes to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) was meant to be published last Monday, but – even though it was sent to some stakeholders on Tuesday – eventually only went online on Friday. There is still no sign of the new practice directions.
Last month LSLA president Francesca Kaye said the absence of any rules, regulations and practice directions was “wholly unacceptable” and threatened the tip the civil litigation system into chaos. Speaking on Friday, she said “the MoJ has been stubbornly silent – not even issuing an update to tell us what is happening. It’s ridiculous”.
She continued: “It’s been a complete shambles. There is a limit to how much lawyers can prepare for change without seeing the detailed practice directions. The legal profession is a huge business. We now have 29 working days (or less) to train everyone for major changes upon which the success of major pieces of litigation may turn. I can’t think that in the private sector or even the public sector such a significant change would be implemented in 29 days.
“The LSLA has been arguing for implementation of the changes to be put back from 1 April to allow the legal profession to get properly up to speed. The existence of the statutory instrument signals the MoJ’s intention to plough on regardless. Far better for them now to acknowledge this cannot be done in the time and set a more realistic timetable. The current silence is causing great uncertainty and threatens to undermine the working relationship between legal profession and the MoJ.”