This piece by Edward Spencer at Taylor Wessing is a good read. We have talked in detail about the Disclosure Pilot Scheme (DPS) and this piece is a good summary of where things now stand. In short, the pilot scheme which was approved on 15 July 2022 and will now be known as Practice Direction 57AD, will come into force on 1 October 2022.
At A&M we have been following the DPS closely since its inception as we have been helping our clients navigate their disclosure obligations. In May 2021, with the DPS being in place for over two years, we surveyed 250 senior lawyers at U.K. law firms to gauge sentiment on the pilot’s progress so far and to understand what changes, if any, should be made to the scheme based on how it is currently constructed. You can see more on what we found here – let’s just say there was quite a bit of discontent and many even went so far as to say it wasn’t fit for purpose.
As the author Edward mentions in this piece, we have seen changes made to the DPS through its lifespan which have attempted to refine the disclosure process for certain cases.
From our experience, early involvement of data experts has been key to an efficient disclosure exercise, particularly on the complex data heavy cases we have been involved with.
We are fortunate in that we have seen multiple cases under the DPS including four cases listed by the Lawyer as their ‘Top 20 Cases’ of the year, all with varying complexity and data volumes from high profile individuals to the largest global corporations, all of which giving us unique insights.
We have also started to see more judges comment on the approach to disclosure by both sides of the litigation, highlighting the importance of understanding your data landscape and disclosure obligations. With Practice Direction 57AD now firmly in place, we look forward to continuing to help our clients with their disclosure obligations and eagerly await future case judgements.
If you want to know more on this, I strongly suggest you connect in with my colleague Gary Foster who is an expert in the Disclosure Pilot Scheme.
It was clear, given the strong interest from the legal community and clients in reform of the disclosure process, that the pilot would be here to stay. One of the main aims of the new process was to reduce costs. Unfortunately, despite efforts on the part of the Disclosure Pilot Working Party, it has not proved possible to compare costs under the pilot with those incurred outside of that scheme and there is no data available to evidence whether there is a saving. It is doubtful whether the scheme will significantly impact the cost of disclosure in complex, document-heavy cases.