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Rowan Turrall
Rowan Turrall,
SENIOR ASSOCIATE - SOLICITOR
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Changes to the Technology and Construction Court Guide
12 August 2014

The key amendments can be summarised as follows:

Claims less than £250,000 should not be started in TCC in London

This amendment reflects the judgment given by Akenhead J in West Country Renovations v McDowell [2013] in which he stated that claims with a value of less than £250,000 should not ordinarily be issued in the TCC in London unless there is good reason to do so. Such claims should instead be started in the County Court or one of the High Court district registries. There are certain exceptions listed in the Guide which include:

  • Adjudication and arbitration cases of any value
  • International cases whatever their value
  • Cases involving new or difficult points of law in TCC cases
  • Any test case or case which will be joined with others which will be treated as test cases
  • Public procurement case
  • Part 8 claims and other claims for declarations
  • Complex nuisance claims brought by a number of parties, even where the sums claimed are small
  • Claims which cannot readily be dealt with effectively in a County Court or Civil Justice centre by a designated TCC judge
  • Claims for injunctions

Proportionate use of Pre-Action Protocol

The Pre-action Protocol for Construction and Engineering Disputes prescribes that after the exchange of a letter of claim and letter of response, the parties should meet on a without prejudice basis. The Guide now confirms that the without prejudice meeting is not mandatory and may be dispensed with if it would involve disproportionate time and cost or it is clear that it would serve no useful purpose.

Disclosure

The disclosure section of the Guide now refers to the menu of options for disclosure implemented by the Jackson reforms and which should be considered by the parties. The previous default of standard disclosure is now but one of the options available. The Guide stresses that in many cases in the TCC standard disclosure will not be appropriate and parties should therefore consider before the first case management conference which of the other alternatives is likely to be best suited to the case in question. If the parties cannot agree on which disclosure option is likely to be the most appropriate by the time of the first case management conference then the Guide indicates that the court is likely to order that the parties follow the e-disclosure protocol prepared by TeCSA, TECBAR and the Society for Computers and Law and which was launched on 1 November 2013.

Witness statements

Further emphasis is added in the section dealing with witness statements that statements should not contain extensive reference to contemporaneous documents by way of narrative. The Guide already highlighted that the judge has the power to order costs when the preparation of witness statements has led to inefficiency or unnecessary time and costs being spent. It now accentuates that this power applies particularly when there has been the inclusion of extensive irrelevant or peripheral material in the statement.

For further information, please contact our Dispute Resolution Team on 0118 952 7206 or submit an enquiry.

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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