The Problems of Civil Litigation

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The reformation of the civil justice system in 1998 was as result of the issues identified by Lord Woolf as hindrances to effective civil litigation. Prior to Woolf report, it was perceived that civil litigation has two main problems; cost of litigation and the duration of court proceedings. The effect of the enquiry and the report thereafter, created new system of litigation where parties are encouraged to settle dispute without a formal court proceeding. The process of taking a civil case to court is now governed by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) which came into force in 1999. The enactment of this Act and other Acts of Parliament enacted earlier such as the Arbitration Act, Limitation Act 1980 and Access to Justice Act 1999 has played a vital role in limiting the wide growing number of litigation by encouraging parties in a dispute to settle their disputes earlier by placing limitation period to the bringing of claim and the use of other available means other than formal court proceeding where possible. The civil procedure rules sets out different way which enables the courts to deal and control cases according to courts timetable, rather than the whims of the parties. The overriding objective of the CPR is to facilitate the court to deal with cases impartially. This includes ensuring that the parties in dispute are placed on equal footing by dealing with their cases in a way which is proportional to the amount of money involved, the complexity of the issues and the financial position of each party. The CPR ensures that claimants and defendants comply strictly with the court imposed discipline. Pre – action protocols is also a medium in which the increasing number of legislation has encouraged parties in dispute to settle outside the court room. The rules about pre – action protocols as contained in the CPR sets out basic requirements that parties in dispute should take before the commencement of legal proceedings. Another way in which the increasing number...
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