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What Are Pre-Action Protocols?

The pre-action protocols are sets of procedural guidelines within  the Civil Procedural Rules (“CPR”) which govern the conduct of parties, and what steps are required to be taken, before issuing Court proceedings. They apply to both individuals and businesses pursuing or defending a prospective claim.

The aims of the pre-action protocols are to encourage the parties to exchange information and documents about the prospective claim and to enable the parties to seek to resolve the dispute before court proceedings are commenced. Failure to comply with the pre-action protocol may result in additional costs for the defaulting party or in the case of being awarded costs, the amount may be reduced.

There are various pre-action protocols within the CPR. It depends on the issues of the relevant claim as to which protocol applies. 

Engaging in protracted court battles can be financially burdensome. The pre-action protocols offer an opportunity to resolve disputes in a more cost-effective manner.

Disputes can strain relationships between parties. By promoting a collaborative approach to resolution, the pre-action protocols often facilitate amicable settlements that preserve business relationships, personal connections, or ongoing partnerships.

Courts expect parties to have attempted resolution through the pre-action protocols before commencing formal proceedings. Adhering to these protocols showcases a party's commitment to resolving matters outside of court.

How Pre-Action Protocols Help Resolve Disputes

The primary goal of these protocols is to encourage settlement through alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or negotiation. By fostering an environment conducive to resolution, they pave the way for mutually acceptable outcomes.

The pre-action protocols provide a structured timeline, ensuring that both parties progress through the resolution process in an organised manner. This aids in timely dispute resolution, avoiding unnecessary delays.

Why It is Beneficial To Seek Legal Advice In Disputes

The pre-action protocols serve as invaluable tools in civil litigation. However, they can be complex and contain strict time restrictions and varied methods of pre-action dispute resolution. Specialist legal advice will  set out the appropriate action required and assist with engaging in the most efficient and effective methods possible to seek to resolve your dispute.

At Ramsdens, our dispute resolution team has a wide range of knowledge and experience to help navigate the pre-action process effectively, comply with legal requirements and provide expert guidance to achieve the best possible outcome in resolving your dispute, while having the ability to navigate through litigation if necessary.

If you would like to discuss pre-action protocols further or litigation generally, please do not hesitate to contact Emily Walker or Ibrahim Shamchiyev, or the wider Litigation team.

The above article is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any part of the information given.