The Courts have been long considering how best to deal with (often vast) disclosure of documents in modern litigation. As most documentation is now held electronically, disclosure is often one of the most expensive and time consuming stages in litigation, potentially involving the review of millions documents in large litigations. Despite great technological advancements in systems to harvest and review documentation for the purposes of litigation, parties and lawyers have been largely constrained by slightly outdated procedural rules.
In an attempt to address that and reduce the significant cost and time burden,the Disclosure Pilot Scheme (DPS) was introduced on 1 January 2019 and will be operating for two years in the Business and Property Courts (B&PCs) in England and Wales.
The DPS is mandatory subject to limited exceptions, and it applies to both new and existing cases (commencing prior to 1 January 2019) proceeding in the B&PCs. Its aim is to achieve a cultural change in the approach to disclosure in civil litigation by making the overall process more proportionate and has introduced a number of changes.
The DPS is set out in the new Practice Direction 51U (PD) to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). Below is a summary of its key provisions, but if you would like to discuss this in more detail then please do get in touch.