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Scribes West Limited v Relsa Anstalt, Court of Appeal, 29 June 2004

8 July 2004
The issues

Amendment to Practice Direction Part 52 – Appeals

The facts

Lord Justice Brooke took the opportunity to remind practitioners that on 30 June Practice Direction CPR Part 52 is substantially amended – as follows:

(a) Grounds of Appeal

There is a new requirement that grounds of appeal should specify in respect of each ground whether the ground raises an appeal on a point of law or is an appeal against finding of fact. The distinction is relevant where the jurisdiction of the relevant Appeal Court is limited to an appeal on the point of Law.

(b) A new requirement is introduced in cases where an Appellant who is representing makes a request for a decision to be reconsidered as an oral hearing. The Appellant’s Advocate is obliged at least 4 days before the hearing to inform the Court and the Respondent in a brief written statement of the points which he proposes to raise at the hearing; to set out his reasons why permission should be granted; and to confirm where applicable that the requirements relating to Appellants funded by the Legal Services Commission have been complied with.

(c) Paras 4.15 and 4.16 of the Revised Practice Direction clarify the practice relating to whether or not Respondent should be notified of Applications for permission to appeal. Notice of such a hearing will be given to the Respondent but he is not required to attend unless the Court requests him to. If the Court requests the Respondents’ attendance the Appellant must supply the Respondent with a copy of the Appeal Bundle within 7 days of being notified of the request and the costs for providing the Bundle should be borne by the Appellant initially but will form part of the costs of the permission application.

(d) Para 5.6 of the Revised Practice Direction provides a concise statement of the documents other than the Appeal Bundle which have to be filed in connection with every appeal (except appeals in the County Court and the High Court relating to a claim allocated to the Small Claims Track). Paragraph 15.4 of the Revised Practice Direction in addition provides for the first time a clear specification for the preparation of bundles in the Court of Appeal. Paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Revised Practice Direction provide for the addition of specified documents to the Appeal Bundle where an Appeal Court grants permission to appeal and paragraph 7 provides for a Respondent providing a supplemental bundle in circumstances where the Appellant and Respondent cannot agree on additional documents to be included in the bundle. If a Respondent prepares a supplementary bundle it must be filed within 21 days after service of the Appeal Bundle.

(e) Paragraph 5.10 which governs the contents of all Skeleton Arguments in all Appeal Courts has been expanded to include the requirements of the Court of Appeal (citation of authorities) Practice Direction. The Revised Practice Direction provides that that the cost of preparing a Skeleton which does not comply with the requirements or is not filed within the time limits will not be allowed on assessment except to the extent that the Court directs otherwise.

(f) A Respondent may now delay serving his Skeleton Argument to at least 7 days before the Appeal Hearing in all cases where he does not want the Appeal Court to vary the Order of the lower Court played in anyway or to uphold the Order of the lower Court for different or additional reasons.

(g) A clearer timetable is now provided for service of late Skeletons. The Court expressed some dissatisfaction that new Skeleton Arguments had been “trickling in” in the days immediately before the hearing of Appeals “sometimes because a new Advocate has been instructed, sometimes because the law has moved on, or because there was a need to address a point raised in the Opponent’s Skeleton”. These Skeletons had been arriving unannounced after the Judges had completed their reading for the Appeal. Any supplemental Skeleton must be filed at least 14 days before the Hearing by the Appellant and the Respondent any such Skeleton be 7 days before the Hearing.

(h) Paragraph 15.11 of the Revised Practice Direction refers to the filing of bundles of authorities. It clarifies both the nature and of the bundle and the time for filing.

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