The Master of the Rolls and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice have signed the 132nd Practice Direction Update to introduce a new pilot scheme for Damages Claims Online (DCO) to be governed by the PD 51ZB.
The PD is effective from 28 May 2021.
A copy of the PD Update is viewable here: 132nd Practice Direction
The main changes effected by this PD Update are to:
- Establish PD 51ZB, a new pilot scheme called “The Damages Claims Pilot” (DCP) to test a procedure that will allow legal professionals to digitally issue a claim, to respond to that claim and provide hearing information. At this stage, it may only be used by legal representatives, and then by invitation only.
- The pilot scheme will cover claims for damages brought by a single claimant against a single defendant, where the claimant is represented by a solicitor who is registered with the service. The pilot will enable users to issue proceedings, upload particulars of claim, acknowledge receipt of the claim and claim details, file a defence (and extension of time for defence), reply and provide initial case management and hearing information. Thereafter, the claim will be transferred out of the DCP and will be managed as if it has been issued under the existing provisions of CPR Part 7.
- The pilot will initially operate for three years, from 28 May 2021 to 30 April 2024.
- PD51ZB will be supported by published guidance, a technical specification for the DCP, and a set of “mock” screens which demonstrate how the system works. This allows for a slightly shorter and simpler PD than would otherwise have been necessary.