(1.) The practice directions to the Civil Procedure Rules apply to civil litigation in the Queen's Bench Division and the Chancery Division of the High Court and to litigation in the county courts other than family proceedings. Where relevant they also apply to appeals to the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal.
(2.) Since the coming into force of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 in April 2006, the power to make practice directions for the civil courts falls to the Lord Chief Justice (with the approval of the Lord Chancellor in most instances). This power is governed by Section 5 of the Civil Procedure Act (as amended).
(3.) The Lord Chief Justice has power under the Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Constitutional Reform Act to nominate a judicial office holder to perform his functions with regards making designated directions. He has therefore nominated the Master of the Rolls to make practice directions for the civil courts.
Historical Making Powers
(4.) Until the inception of the Constitutional Reform Act, practice directions were made –
(1) for the Queen’s Bench Division by the Lord Chief Justice as president of that Division;
(2) for the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal by the Master of the Rolls as president of that Division;
(3) for the Chancery Division by the Vice-Chancellor as vice-president of that Division; and
(4) for the county courts by the Lord Chancellor or a person authorised to act on his behalf under section 74A of the County Courts Act 1984.
(5.) From April 1999 to July 2000 the Lord Chancellor authorised the Vice-Chancellor, Sir Richard Scott (as he then was) under section 74A of the 1984 Act. The Vice-Chancellor made all practice directions for county courts during that time.
(6.) From July 2000 to September 2003, the Lord Chancellor authorised Lord Justice May to make these practice directions. Lord Justice May made all practice directions for county courts during that time.
(7.) From September 2003 until April 2006 the Lord Chancellor authorised Lord Justice Dyson to make practice directions for the county courts.