Scope and interpretation

1. This Practice Direction is made under rule 51.2. It provides for a pilot scheme to allow authorised court officers to make standard form case management directions on paper in certain circumstances.

2. The pilot is to run from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2024 and applies in the County Court.

3. In this Practice Direction—

(1) “authorised court officer” means a court officer nominated by the Designated Civil Judge for their court, and authorised by the Lord Chief Justice or the Lord Chief Justice’s nominee, to exercise the jurisdiction of the County Court as set out in this Practice Direction;

(2) “standard form case management directions” means case management directions relating to a relevant claim in a form approved by the relevant Designated Civil Judge;

(3) a “relevant claim” is a claim other than one commenced under PD49D, PD 51O, PD 51R or PD51ZB which is—

(a) a claim for which the normal track would be the small claims track and which is not a complicated claim; or

(b) any claim seeking damages in respect of a road traffic accident for which the normal track would be the fast track;

(4) a claim is a “complicated claim” if—

(a) it raises a substantial point of law;

(b) it has a complicated factual background;

(c) more than one expert is to provide an opinion; or

(d) an authorised court officer considers it to be complicated for any other reason.

Jurisdiction of the County Court that may be exercised by a court officer

4. An authorised court officer may exercise the jurisdiction of the County Court by making standard form case management directions in respect of a relevant claim including allocation to the small claims track or to the fast track.

5. Standard form case management directions shall be made available on an appropriate website of HMCTS and/or the judiciary.

Reconsideration of a decision made by a court officer

6. Any party may request any direction made by an authorised court officer to be reconsidered by a District Judge.

7. A request for reconsideration must be filed within 14 days after the party is served with the standard form case management directions.

8. The request must include a summary of the issue and an explanation of why reconsideration is sought.

9. Reconsideration will take place without a hearing.