From 6 April 2019, a number of changes to the Civil Procedure Rules will come into effect with the intention of reinforcing the principle of open justice and clarifying how it operates in the civil courts. The amendments include:

  • emphasising the general rule that hearings are to be held in public, and clarifying the test for when a court may direct a private hearing or party/witness anonymisation
  • making it clear that the general rule applies not only to traditional hearings in a courtroom, but also those held in chambers or via telephone/videolink
  • a new express duty on the court to take reasonable steps to enable public access to hearings
  • a new procedure requiring orders for a private hearing or anonymisation to be published on the courts’ website
  • a new power for judges to direct a represented party to compile and share with a litigant in person a note of a hearing pending the receipt of a transcript.

Jan O’Neill, a Professional Support Lawyer in our Disputes team, has published a post on Practical Law’s Dispute Resolution blog discussing the changes.  Click here to read the post (or here for the Practical Law Dispute Resolution blog homepage).