On 28 June 2017 Mr Jusice Warby issue a report on the Media and Communications List Consultation. This dealt with the responses to the Consultation carried out in May 2017.
There were 22 responses to the consultation. In summary
- The overwhelming majority considered that the CPR and the Practice Directions did not cater for the needs of those who litigate in this area.
- Costs budgeting was identified as the single most important case management issue.
- All respondents agreed that the collection of statistics is worthwhile and the the overwhelming majority (17:2) considered the present system was inadequate. Views were divided on how to rectify the position, with a bare majority favouring the suggestion that that legal representatives should prompt the judge to complete the form.
All but one respondent agreed that it would be helpful to have a meeting for users of the Media and Communications List and supported the creation of a Media and Communications List Users Committee.
The topics identified for change or attention covered a wide range, the main points being:
- Pre-action Protocols
- Defamation protocol: claimant should be obliged to specify meaning and precise monetary relief claimed; replace reference to Press Complaints Commission)
- A PAP for misuse and data protection claims should be introduced
- Allocation, 7APD 2.5. 2.9 and CPR 30.5(4) (mandate the starting of claims in the Media and Communications List, not the Chancery Division)
- Docketing to specialist judges (CPR 1 and 29)
- Early judicial assessment of claims, especially by litigants in person
- Statements of Case, CPR 15.8 (a Reply to be served in 28 days and before directions)
- CPR 22.1 (statement of truth) to apply to letters of claim
- Dealing with applications on paper (CPR 23.8) (greater readiness to do this, of own initiative)
- Guidance on when preliminary issues are appropriate
- CPR 29.7 (list PTR before trial judge unless impracticable)
- Costs: various changes were proposed to
- CPR 3.15 & 3.19 & PD 3E, PD3F (more costs capping, early costs management, rules specific to defamation)
- PD 48 2.1 and 3.2 (recovery of additional liabilities, etc)
- PD53, which was said to be “out of date” and in need of being “overhauled” especially in the light of the Defamation Act 2013. Aspects of the PD which attracted comment or criticism included paras 2.7, 4, and 6. One respondent suggested an entire PD is required for publication claims.
- CPR 65.28(1) (start claims for harassment under Part 7 not Part 8)
- Queen’s Bench Guide 19.2 to be updated.
In its conclusion the report says that the next step will be a meeting of users of the Media and Communications List to take place in Michaelmas Term 2017. Representations were invited on two topics
- Any proposed Agenda items beyond those identified in this report
- How to ensure a fair spread of representation on any Users Group Committee
Those who wish to attend the meeting should notify the clerk to Mr Justice Warby, Emma Lownsborough, by email at Emma.Lownsborough@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk. Emails should carry the subject heading “MCL Users Meeting”.