You will recall from our last update that HMCTS made the decision to further postpone plans to go live with mandating the defendant process within the DCP by the end of August until mid-September (from an original intended roll-out date of 2 June 2022) due to significant and ongoing technical issues experienced with the operation of the DCP platform.
HMCTS have been able to rectify the most serious of the technical issues which were being experienced and have therefore confirmed that they are targeting the 15th September to mandate the defendant journey. Though this date is not yet set in stone we do expect this to be the go-live date for mandating the defendant journey, as long as the relevant Practice Direction is updated in sufficient time.
We are expecting a formal announcement from HMCTS soon, and will provide an update when we hear more.
Yes – claims should still be issued in the DCP where they meet the criteria and at Keoghs we will ensure that we continue to do so in those cases where we act for the claimant – such as in recoveries claims.
It is important that you ensure you nominate a law firm to accept service of proceedings within the DCP as early as possible. Where you nominate Keoghs to accept service in the DCP please send us a copy of the nomination letter, it is important that you do this so that we are ready to accept the claim via the DCP once served.
You should inform claimants’ solicitors to use the email address DCP@keoghs.co.uk when serving on us within the DCP, as well as sending a copy of the nomination email/letter to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Service of claims
HMCTS are working to try to mandate a centralised email address for the service of claims. Currently a claimant solicitor can serve a claim via the DCP against any email address held by a firm, regardless of the email address provided. In order to prevent served claims being missed at Keoghs, we have a team who are checking the service and allocation of all claims on a daily basis – using the main firm case list within the DCP. There was hope that HMCTS would send an email notification to the super-user group for each firm with details of cases served, however they have confirmed that this system enhancement is not possible.
It should be noted that we are already seeing a volume of claims served in the DCP without prior consent of the defendant solicitor and using incorrect email addresses for service as well as quoting incorrect references. The current practice directions do not provide any sanctions for failure to follow the Rules and there is no intention to change these. We are concerned that failure to amend the Rules in this respect will lead to misuse of the system.
Defence extension dates
Only one extension to the Defence date can be input on the DCP at present – meaning that unless you agree the full 28-day extension in the first instance (say for example you agree an initial 14-day extension), you will lose the opportunity to do so.
Search for Users
The system does not permit a search for Users at present and it is hoped that this will be changed to make the system more user-friendly.
Finally, while HMCTS have acknowledged the need to build an API at a future date, no timeframe has been set for this and it does not appear to be a priority for them.
We will provide a further update once formal confirmation has been received of the roll-out date for mandating of the defendant process within the DCP.
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