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119th Practice Direction Update to the Civil Procedure Rules – Online Civil Money Claims in support of the Covid-19 effort

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Updated Practice Direction 51R

The Master of the Rolls and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice have signed amendments to Practice Direction 51R in relation to the Online Civil Money Claims (OCMC) pilot scheme.

The PD amendments made by this Update come into force on 14 April 2020 and apply in relation to all claims submitted to the court on or after 11.00 a.m. on that date.

The main changes effected by this PD are to:

  • Enable a judge within the OCMC pilot to consider Directions Questionnaires online and make directions irrespective of the value of the claim;
  • Remove geographical restrictions on HMCTS Legal Adviser powers, allowing Legal Advisers to consider Directions Questionnaires online and make necessary directions irrespective of which court is the “preferred court” for any hearing that may be necessary to consider a claim. However, other restrictions on Legal Adviser powers remain, including the limit of the value of the claim (up to £300) for which Legal Advisers can consider Directions Questionnaires online;
  • Expand the general directions making powers of the court where a claim is sent out of the OCMC pilot so that the court can make directions about the future management of the claim, rather than only directions about how the claim is to be sent out.
  • Although these modifications are being expedited in support of the Covid-19 effort, they are being made as part of the ongoing process of building the Online Civil Money Claims process under Court Reform and as such, unless varied, they remain in force under the current terms of PD51R, which has a review date of 30 November 2021.

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