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The single County Court takes effect
A number of changes have been rolled out in relation to Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). These changes came into force on 22 April 2014.
Sections 17 (1) and (2) of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 provide for a single County Court. The geographical jurisdictional boundaries of current county courts have been removed and replaced by a single national entity with a national jurisdiction.
“The County Court” as it is now known, will sit at various locations throughout England and Wales and the court houses in which it will convene will act as hearing centres, with court administrative offices attached to them.
On the same date, the following changes to the CPR also took effect:
- All references to “a county court” have been changed to “the County Court”
- References to specific county courts have been changed to a specific “County Court hearing centre”.
- Proceedings will now be “sent” from one hearing centre to another as an administrative procedure, as opposed to being “transferred” judicially.
- Judges will no longer be restricted to certain geographical boundaries and will be able to sit in any part of the country; certain judges other than the current district and circuit judges will be able to sit as judges “of the County Court” and terminology in the CPR will be changed to reflect this
- The definition of “defendant’s home court” will be amended to reflect the national jurisdiction; the address where the defendant resides or carries on business will determine the local hearing centre.
- All County Court money claims will now be subject to the “Automatic transfer of designated money claims” rule in CPR 26.2A, which previously only applied to claims issued at the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC).
- The definition “designated money claim” has been removed from CPR 2.
- “Automatic transfer” will apply exclusively to High Court specified money claims.
- “consequences of failure to comply with the notice of proposed allocation” has also been amended so that it applies to all County Court money claims, not just those started in the CCMCC
- Claims and possession claims that cannot be issued online will now be issued in any County Court hearing centre
- The Northampton County Court has been renamed “the County Court Business Centre”.
- Claims issued at the Business Centre or CCMCC (including Money Claim Online) will remain there until a hearing is required or the claimant wishes to enforce a judgment other than by issue of a warrant
- “Default judgment” and “Admissions” have been amended so that any requests for judgment for an amount of money to be decided by the court filed in the CCMCC will now be sent to the preferred County Court hearing centre
As well as the changes listed above, amendments, which came into force on 6 April, have also been made to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCEA 2007), and to incorporate the procedural rules for enforcement into the main body of the CPR. A number of amendments to the enforcement provisions of the CPR are also made as a result of the introduction of the single County Court.
At Royds, our specialists can advise clients on all aspects relating to Civil Procedure Rules, including changes to legislation and regulatory requirements.
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