Warby J issues report on consultation
On 28 June Warby J issued the Media and Communications List Consultation Report, in response to the survey of court users in May 2017.
The consultation sough the views of practitioners and other court users in the field. Questions were asked on matters including whether users would like to see any changes to the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Directions, the most important case management issue, the collection of statistics on injunctions restraining freedom of expression, and whether it would be helpful to hold a court user’s meeting and/or form a Court Users’ Committee.
A total of 22 responses to the consultation were received. Key points from the responses:
- The vast majority of respondents considered that the CPR and PDs do not adequately cater for the needs of those who litigate in this area.
- Costs budgeting was flagged as the single most important case management issue in the area, with delay also considered an issue .
- All respondents took the view that the collection of statistics on injunctions restraining freedom of expression is worthwhile, but the vast majority think the present system is inadequate.
- As to how the system for collecting these statistics could be improved, two potential routes were explored: (1) on whether legal representatives should complete the form, 8 respondents agreed while 10 disagreed; (2) on whether legal representatives should prompt judges to complete the form, 11 respondents agreed while 7 disagreed.
- All but 1 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 committee of users. Warby J in the analysis section of the report said: “The only person who answered no to the questions about a users’ meeting and user group was a litigant in person who may be assumed to have no interest in that aspect of the matter. For practical purposes, therefore, respondents were unanimously in favour of both propositions.”
As to next steps, a meeting of users of the Media and Communications List is to be convened at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Michaelmas term of 2017 (date tbc). One item on the agenda will be formation of a Users Group Committee. Input from the profession is also 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 or respond on the two topics said out above are invited to email Emma.Lownsborough@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk Emails should carry the subject heading “MCL Users Meeting”.
The full report can be found below.