11/14/2023 - UK News: 20 Page Rule Does Not Apply to Criminal Cases

The FRC regime does not extend to certain categories of cases, necessitating their allocation to the multi-track. These exclusions encompass:

Are there any constraints on the applicability of the Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRC) regime to specific types of civil cases?

1. Mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung disease claims.
2. Clinical negligence claims, except in instances where both breach of duty and causation have been admitted, and the claim is deemed suitable for the intermediate track.
3. Child or vulnerable-adult abuse claims.
4. Claims eligible for resolution through a jury trial, particularly cases where the court could order a trial by jury if satisfied that an issue under section 66(3) of the County Courts Act 1984 or section 69(1) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 is at hand (examples include false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, or fraud).
5. Claims against the police involving intentional or reckless tort, or relief in connection with the Human Rights Act 1998. It's important to note that this exclusion does not apply to road accident claims stemming from negligent police driving, employer's liability claims, or any claims related to accidental falls on police premises.

Will Only Oral Evidence be Required?

In the recently issued Intermediate Track Practice Directions, there is explicit permission for "oral evidence or reports or both" (7.2(4)(a)). This implies that there's a possibility you might be called upon to present your expert evidence verbally, and a formal written report may not be mandatory. While it remains unclear whether this provision is specifically aimed at simpler cases, there is a potential risk that it could expose experts on the stand who are unprepared for such scenarios. We strongly advise all expert witnesses to consider documenting their opinions to ensure thorough preparation for trial.

In cases where you are solely required to provide oral evidence, the practice directions highlight at 3.9e that, "if experts’ reports are not agreed, to direct a discussion between the experts for the purpose set out in rule 35.12(1) and the preparation of a report under rule 35.12(3)." Therefore, in instances where a written report is not expected, it is anticipated that you will be instructed to engage in a meeting of experts and subsequently submit a joint statement.