The civil procedure act 1997 and civil

The Woolf reforms are new legal rules adopted by the British
courts in 1999 which revolutionized the way civil claims are pursued predicated
on Rt Hon Lord Woolf’s review of the then-extant UK civil equity system which
he called too slow, too costly and too complex. Legislation was then introduced
to revamp the rules of court and is now called the civil procedure rules.

     A survey was
carried out by the national consumer council which ascertained that three out
of four people are involved in serious legal disputes and were dissatisfied
with the civil equity system. Out of the 1019 respondents seventy seven percent
believed that the system was too slow, 74 percent verbalized the system was too
complicated and seventy three percent verbalized that it was unwelcoming and
outdated. Senior members of the judiciary defended the paramountcy of the civil
justice system and it was then when the conservative regime appointed Lord
Woolf to carry out a review and overhaul the civil equity system. His inquiry
was the 63rd such review in a hundred years. Lord Woolf wanted to eliminate the
defects in the civil equity system which were identified as too slow, too
extravagant, destitute of equipollence between potent and opulent litigants and
under resourced litigants, too skeptical in terms of the length and cost of
litigation, too fragmented and too adverbial.

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     In March 1994 the
Lord Chancellor then set up the Woolf enquiry whereby ways of reducing delay
and accessibility of civil proceedings and of reducing their cost were to be
visually examined. The inquiry of Woolf published its final report in 1996 and
the proposals resulted in civil procedure act 1997 and civil procedure rules

The main changes that were brought by the Woolf reform were
ascertaining that the parties are on equal footing, preserving expense, dealing
with the case in ways which are proportionate relish to the amount of money involved,
the importance of the case, to the intricacy of the issues and to the financial
position of each party. It withal ascertained that cases were dealt with
expeditiously and fairly and withal allotting to it a felicitous portion of the
courts resources while taking into account the desideratum to allot resources
to other cases. The reform ushered in the incipient concept of case management
whereby it shifted from litigants to judges and judges possessed an incipient
range of judicial case management powers 
which they could utilize to set early tribulation dates and to utilize
their discretion whether to move the dates or not of a case. The civil
procedure rules lay down guidance to identifying the issues at an early stage,
deciding promptly, inspiriting the parties to utilize alternative dispute
resolution if the court considers it congruous.

The Woolf reform transmuted the way cases were endeavored
which was according to the size of the claim. It introduced an incipient method
of tracks that availed the allocation of cases. There were three types of
tracks which decided first was the diminutive claim tracks which auricularly
discerned cases from below 5000 pounds, second was the expeditious tracks which
aurally perceived cases from between 5000 to 15000 pounds and thirdly the
multi-track which auricularly discerned cases from above 15000 pounds.

The Woolf reform withal introduced sundry mechanisms like
the pre-action protocol which was acclimated to inspirit early settlement and
exchange of documents. A party could not be compelled to comply with a protocol
but if proceedings commenced the court can take failure to adhere into account
by imposing sanctions.

The reforms introduced and encouraged the concept of
alternative dispute resolution. ADR had three methods which were negotiation
where the two parties settle the case by themselves, conciliation where a
lawyer could be present while settling the case, mediation where there would be
a mediator present to avail solve the case and arbitration where they would
utilize an arbitrator to settle the issue which would be licitly binding. The
reform wanted to eschew litigation wherever it was possible. It was not
indispensable to utilize but had consequences as optically discerned in Dunnett
and Rail track plc. 2002 where dunnett lost the case at first instance on
appeal because the party was advised to utilize alternative dispute resolution.
However rail track won the appeal and application for 1.7 million costs but the
judge failed to award those costs because they failed to engage in alternative
dispute resolution.

Professor zander was the one person who reproved and brought
out the costs and faults that the woolf reform carried with it and brought out
the following objectives during his enquiry on the woolf reform which was when
the cases commenced there was immense pressure , empirical evidence suggested
that it was not compulsory that pre-tribulation auricular discerning would
reduce cost and delay , a report by T.Goreily suggested that the overall time
for the disputes afore and after the reform has remained the same , reforms led
to incremented judicial discretion in the decision making of pre-tribulation
judges which lead to inconsistently erratic and unappealabe decisions  and lastly procedural timetables for the
expeditious track are doomed to failure because of the inability of immensely
colossal proportion of firms failing to adhere to prescribed timetables for
range of reasons thus disproportionate and inequitable sanctions will be implemented
causing iniquity to clients for the failings of their lawyers.

However the Woolf reform did have some disadvantages to it
but overall was one reform which availed transmute the whole of civil procedure
rules. Lord Woolf was prosperous to a certain extent because he endeavored
reducing the delay, the cost, and the parity of powers and was able to achieve
and transmute the system of the civil procedure rule system.


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