On July 1 2014, new District Court rules came into force replacing previous 2009 rules. These rules change the processes significantly.The main changes are as follows:
- Commencing a claim. The notice of claim procedure has been replaced with a statement of claim and a notice of proceeding.
- Disclosure of documents. Information capsules have gone. Now when a statement of claim is filed, the party commencing the claim must provide a list of the documents that are relied on to the other side and provide a copy within five working days if a copy is requested.
- New procedure available. If the claim is defended but no actual defence is disclosed the other party can apply for summary judgment. This must be done within 10 working days of the defence being filed and is essentially an application asking the court to award judgment because there is no defence to the claim.
One of the motivations behind the new rules is to bring them in line with the High Court Rules. The new District Court Rules follow the same format and layout.
The new rules will come as no surprise to some. The statement of claim procedure is actually a reintroduction of the previous procedure. It was thrown out in 2009 and replaced with the now defunct Notice of Claim procedure. The old adage springs to mind "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"