How to avoid civil court delays

The civil court system is stretched and long delays are common.

By seeking advice early and taking sensible steps, you can avoid unnecessary delays adding to already lengthy wait times.

Law Society Gazette Reports more Court Delays

According to the Law Society Gazette, the Civil Court system is dealing with such a backlog that Costs Management Conferences (CMCs) are taking 10 months to be listed in some cases.

What are Costs Management Conferences (CMCs)?

CMCs have been introduced since 1 April 2013 in an attempt to make the costs of taking a matter to Court clearer.

They are necessary in cases where a claim over £25,000 (or £10,000 where it is likely there will be a trial longer than one day) is made. All parties must file a costs budget. This sets out the anticipated costs of taking the matter to trial.

Parties must then comment upon the others’ budget. The Court approves the budget by taking an active role, amending it as a judge sees fit. The Court aims to ensure the costs are reasonable and proportionate.

In reality though, with CMCs taking up to 10 months to be listed, the costs budgeting process has added another delay in an already stretched Court system.

If you have a dispute

If you have a dispute which may end up at Court it would be sensible to take advice early.

Consider what steps can be taken to resolve matters, but ensure the case is prepared and ready to issue at Court at the earliest possible stage. This will ensure your matter is not delayed further.

Although issuing a claim should be considered a last resort, in the current circumstances it may be sensible to consider issuing and then negotiating or agreeing a stay. This would ensure that should you wish to pursue the matter further you are not waiting 10 months for the first hearing.

Each case is of course different. If you have any concerns, or are considering taking action you should contact our Dispute Resolution Team to discuss matters further.

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.