The overriding objective is not what it was
Access to justice… at the right price
From 1 April 2013, Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 1.1 is amended by the addition of the following words in italics:
These Rules are a new procedural code with the overriding objective of enabling the court to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost.
This reinforces the amendments to CPR 3.9 in respect of relief from sanctions. CPR 3.9(1) will provide that, on an application for relief from sanctions, the court will consider all the circumstances of the case to enable it to deal justly with the application. It expressly requires the court to consider the need for litigation to be conducted efficiently and at proportionate cost, and the need to enforce compliance with rules, practice directions and court orders. It applies for applications for relief made on or after 1 April 2013.
If it was not already abundantly apparent, the amendment to the overriding objective makes it clear that the interests of justice are no longer the sole primary objective. Increasingly, the costs of the justice system (not least in the area of expert witness fees) are coming into play.