Civil Procedure Rules Committee Offers Clarification on 20-Page Limit

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Earlier this month, the Civil Procedure Rules Committee released the minutes of their 2nd November meeting.

In these minutes, they provided the following clarification on the 20-page limit for reports being submitted to intermediate track civil claims under the courts of England and Wales: 

“18. A clarificatory amendment concerning expert reports was proposed by expanding rule 28.14(c) with a new (c)(i) and (ii) which are designed to set out what is and is not included within the 20 page limit. New (c)(i) will provide that the expert’s description of the issues on which they are instructed to give their opinion, the conclusions they have reached and the reasons for those conclusions, are included within the 20 page limit; but new (ii) will expressly provide that the expert’s CV and any supporting materials to which the reasons for their conclusions refer, are added to the existing list of items (comprising any necessary photographs, plans and academic or technical articles attached to the report) are excluded.”

Whilst this is a step in the right direction, the clarification does not address many of the central issues and concerns that have been outlined by experts since hearing about this law change. For example, 

A lower value case does not necessary mean that it is any less complex in terms of the issues that must be considered and the nature and volume of the evidence that must be reviewed and summarised by experts in their report. 

  • The recent case of Griffiths vs TUI emphasised expert obligations under CPR35, Practice Direction 35 and The Guidance for the Instruction of Experts in Civil claims. Namely, that experts must provide the full reasoning for their opinion in their report. Therefore, an arbitrary 20-page limit is likely to impact an expert's ability to comply with their obligations. 
  • This 20-page limit is generic and fails to take into consideration the type of civil claim, the issues at stake, the nature and volume of evidence and the expertise required. 

It remains to be seen whether more guidance will be issued on this rule change. Bond Solon will continue to update you as and when there are further developments.