Essay Example on Severe criticism and complex serious issues faced by the judicial system

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In the background of severe criticism and complex serious issues faced by the judicial system for its performance there was always continuous effort to not only attend but upgrade the mechanism to improve performance and perception These efforts started almost hundred years before with regular intervals as various efforts were done to address these issues Being the 63rd such effort the Woolf Inquiry to revamp the civil justice system was formed in 1994 by Lord Chancellor to study why civil litigation was in general expensive protracted complex and subject to long delays The essence of the reforms was based on promoting settlement among the parties at dispute and avoiding litigation The Woolf report appeared initially in the year 1996 and the proposals backed up by practice directions regulations and pre action protocols were enacted in Civil Procedure Act and the Civil Procedure Rules CPR 1998 which were identical for County Courts and High Court A considerate rational approach by Lord Woolf provided refreshing relief and a New Civil Justice Landscape evolved The key reforms introduced addressing cost and delay includes Pre Action protocols part 36 of CPR Judicial Case Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution ADR The main objectives of these reforms were to urge early settlement and encourage parties to be less adversarial reduce delays costs and complexities of litigations It is essential to discuss the reforms to see whether the proposals have achieved cost saving for litigants 



Pre action protocols are an important feature which is intended to enhance pre dispute communication or party engagements and to help in more better and enhanced information exchange and timely settlements especially in cases of clinical disputes and personal injury Furthermore it benefits from healthy guidance for ADR The new CPR guidelines provide positive advantages to parties willing to settle differences A part 36 offer can be utilized during or after the appeal proceedings contrary to the previous egoistic practices the procedure is a clever tool to gauge the legal positions and to minimise the consequential cause including penalties for erring parties The Case Management emerged as the most important innovation which transferred the control of the case including its pace to judiciary from litigating parties Three channels characterised the CPR cases Small Claims Fast Track and Multi Track consisting of separate regimes based on their value Apart from ADR Woolf gave much attention to resolve the issue of Experts which was not only expensive but time consuming by proposing its use with permissions where the judiciary deemed it necessary on merit basis Woolf reforms had a significant impact on the cases inventory immediately as the year 1999 recorded almost a quarter percentage less cases in County courts when compared to previous year Also statistics of 2005 confirm 190 000 cases compared to 220 000 cases of 1998 Gary Slapper et al have acknowledged the same and called it a triumphant step 



The survey results of Goriely et al 170 days before Woolf to 123 days after Woolf proved settlements are comparatively quicker than before However Lord Phillip differed and felt that the problem is not completely solved as litigations are still expensive and the speed also picked up in complex large cases as well The Case Management evaluations in London showed positive incentives whereas the evaluations outside London were relatively mute Furthermore it is generally perceived that out of court settlements favour stronger parties as they can bully and suppress the weaker opponents to tweak the judgment suitable to them causing injustice and taking unfair advantage Though Woolf reform appeared highly influential and successful to achieve its objectives on a broader scale but it also attracted serious criticism as well Michael Zander being the prime critic objected that parties are put under huge pressure to settle It also felt that there is an increase in judicial discretion leading to inconsistent irrevocable decisions for example Huck v Robson part 36 was found derisory and Three Rivers DC v Bank of England this case took 20 years to conclude In conclusion 



The Woolf Reforms enjoyed the support of all quarters of judiciary as Lord Chancellor s praised it in the foreword to the 48th update to CPR also Woolf Network Third Survey 2001 acknowledge the same It provided major relief to litigating parties seeking serious settlements as claims issued had dropped significantly for example Queen's Bench Division recorded twenty percent less proceeding issues in the year 2001 compared to the year 2000 Though these reforms were designed in the right direction and were aiming primarily to reduce the cost time and technical qualms which ultimately managed to achieve to a greater extent but this notion were always debatable as criticized by Michael Zander referred above However it can be easily presumed that the reforms were efficient and successful and the shortcomings were limited as the positives outshine the negatives 



Although these reforms were not free from serious criticism M Zander inconsistent and un appealable decisions Kate Malleson fast track procedural timeframes will be a huge failure Elliot Quinn lawyers failures may bring injustices to the clients J S Kakalik et al will increase lawyers work hours thus increasing costs Lord Justice Jackson front loading will increase litigation costs and Justice Burton court s inflexibility experts usurping roles of judges forceful unhealthy time frame scenarios by judges for summary assessments and exploitation of standard disclosures by clients and their lawyers by concealing important documents However the effect and the outcome after the introduction of these reforms into the system promoted a healthy culture of cooperation and understanding Irrespective of the magnitude of advantages and disadvantages the reforms aimed at providing timely settlements of disputes by curbing impasse of never ending time consuming litigation process came out as a path breaking revolutionary and accommodating guidelines by laying a foundation stone for a much enhanced litigation culture by successfully managing to provide significant relief to previously suffering litigants

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