What Is A Protocol?
A protocol gives a set of rules and steps to follow before court proceedings. The UK Courts have created protocols for each type of claim. Some examples of these are:
- The Housing Disrepair Protocol
- The Personal Injury Protocol
- The Professional Negligence Protocol
Each protocol sets out what the court expects the parties to achieve before the claim is brought before the Courts.
What Does A Protocol Cover?
As a Claimant, you must follow the relevant protocol. The Court can impose sanctions or costs penalties if you don’t.The protocol for each type of claim is different. But, they usually have some common elements:
- You as a claimant must send a detailed letter of claim to the defendant. This letter will start the claim, say what type of claim it is, and the letter will start the protocol.
- The Defendant must acknowledge the claim in writing.
- The Defendant is then given a set period to investigate the claim. This can be problematic as sometimes the investigation periods can be quite lengthy.
- By the last day of the investigation period, the Defendant will send a detailed letter of response. In that letter the Defendant must either admit or deny the claim.
- If the Defendant admits the claim, both parties will then attempt to agree a settlement. This would not need court action.
- If the Defendant denies the claim, they are usually required to do something called Disclosure. This means they share copies of all documents in their possession which might be relevant to the claim. This should to include all relevant documents, including those which are unhelpful to the Defendant. But, defendants don’t always follow this rule. So, we are sometimes required to make a court application to enforce full disclosure.
What Happens to Your Claim?
Many claims are settled by negotiation during the protocol period. If so, then the claim ends and the case is closed.
If the claim is not settled, you will have to decide what to do next. After considering all the disclosure and evidence we have gathered, the claim will be closed if it no longer appears to be a good one. But, if we still consider it to be a good claim, you will have to decide what to do next if you still wish to assert your rights.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have questions, please feel free to get in touch with Chris Rudd Solicitors.