Thursday, 13 February 2014

New Clinical Negligence Model Direction

A new model direction has been approved for use in High Court clinical negligence cases.

Master Cook announced, with the approval of the Master of the Rolls, an addition to the model directions for use in High Court clinical negligence cases. It is as follows:

"The parties may, by prior agreement in writing, extend the time for directions, in the Order dated xxxxxx, by up to 28 days and without the need to apply to Court. Beyond that 28 day period, any agreed extension of time must be submitted to the Court by email including a brief explanation of the reasons, confirmation that it will not prejudice any hearing date and with a draft Consent Order in word format. The Court will then consider whether a formal Application and Hearing is necessary."

This is not directly applicable to district registries nor in the County Court, but practitioners may well wish to deploy it in draft directions.. What is good enough for the High Court in the RCJ is surely good enough for Burnley County Court or the Birmingham District Registry.

Following the Court of Appeal’s decision in Mitchell-v-News Corp and Mr Justice Turner's judgment in MA Lloyd litigators were concerned that any delay in complying with court directions, even if an extension had been agreed with the other parties, could lead to dire consequences. This model direction, if now widely followed, will provide some scope for sensible practitioners to co-operate without having to spend time making repeated court applications. 

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