Disputes Quick Read – 10 / 38 观点
The Disclosure Pilot Scheme (DPS) was due to end on 31 December 2020 but will now remain in force until 31 December 2021. The extension is accompanied by amendments to the scheme addressing feedback received by the Disclosure Working Group (DWG) from practitioners.
Governed by Practice Direction 51U (PD 51U), the DPS has been operating in the Business and Property Courts since 1 January 2019 and was introduced to create a more reasonable and proportionate disclosure process.
However, feedback from practitioners since then is that the DPS is not achieving its intended goal, with complaints around the lack of clarity and unduly onerous requirements relating to the disclosure review document (DRD). This was creating increased costs without any material improvement in the accuracy of disclosure provided and result in an increased burden on the court to determine disclosure-related issues.
PD 51U has now been amended to address this feedback, with the changes coming into effect from 6 April 2021. We provide an overview of these amendments below, and consider what their potential impact will be.
In document-heavy cases, disclosure can be a lengthy and expensive process. We have seen first-hand the benefits of technology-assisted review and disclosure analytics in saving time and costs for clients in document review.
Unfortunately, under the DPS, the early stages of disclosure (agreeing the issues and search parameters) can be an arduous and expensive process. This is largely due to the detailed nature of the DRD, which itself has become a contentious document. So, it's doubtful whether these changes will really make a difference in document-heavy and more complex cases.
That said, we hope that these changes – in particular the flexibility around the DRD requirements – will streamline the preliminary stages of disclosure to focus the disclosure process without the additional costs burden for clients.
To discuss the issues raised in this article in more detail, please reach out to a member of our Disputes & Investigations team.
作者 Nick Storrs
作者 James Bryden
作者 Stuart Broom