Interesting read from the team at Herbert Smith Freehills regarding the Disclosure Pilot Scheme (DPS). The piece covers how the DPS is due to be incorporated into the Civil Procedure Rules permanently, with only minimal changes and how from 1st October 2022, it will take the form of a new Practice Direction (PD) 57AD.
At A&M we have been following the Disclosure Pilot Scheme 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 find out more on that here.
The Chancellor has recognised that the Disclosure Pilot has resulted in a front-loading of costs but stated that it has also led to a dramatic decline in specific disclosure applications and a “far more focused and efficient approach to the disclosure process generally”. And indeed, some of the feedback from our clients has been similar – front loading of costs – perhaps means it works well when cases run and go to trial but if you are front loading costs and then cases settle, then you are incurring costs without seeing any benefit.
We have seen multiple changes made to the DPS through its lifespan which have attempted to refine the disclosure process for certain cases. But 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 involvement with. We’ll be talking more on this in a paper we have drafted soon. Watch this space…
The Chancellor has recognised that the Disclosure Pilot has resulted in a front-loading of costs, but stated that it has also led to a dramatic decline in specific disclosure applications and a “far more focused and efficient approach to the disclosure process generally”. The Master of the Rolls has described the new PD as reducing the need for disclosure where it is unnecessary, and increasing the parties’ focus on the real issues in the case.