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United Kingdom has two different types of justice system, which is criminal justice system and civil justice system. The fundamental objectives of civil justice system are faster, inexpensive, simple and effective to figure out the dispute. This system is to propose a way to solve dispute between the citizens or organization, and it always deal with the private right between citizen or organization. A party call claimant, which sue another party name as defendant when they cannot achieve agreement of the dispute between them. The common court in the civil justice system is high court and county court, each court responsible to different cases, depending on the value.
Somehow rather, this system had encounter quite a lot of problem with use after a few years, for example too expensive, slow and too complexity to bring a case to court. The outcome of this problem had invited Lord Woolf to undertake a review of the civil justice system. In 1996 Lord Woolf has published a final report, Access to Justice, and this report had made a radical change around 300 recommendations on the system, such as reduce the cost, complexity and delays. In April 1999, these reforms were implementing.
Nevertheless, this reform is also not completely approval by public and it still critic by other people for some problem, such as the transition, the enforcement and court appointed experts.
According to the hierarchy is showing about the court structure. In civil part, each level of the court is providing a stage to solve the dispute between citizens or organization. Normally in this side, the courts are more deals with cases like marriage problem, tort and breach contract. To start a civil litigant, it is depend on the sum involve and the complexity of the case to allocate the court, usually cases will start on county court, if the case cannot resolve, it will move to high court, court of appeal and the following to house of lord.
Shortcoming of the present system
Before reform April 1999, the civil justice system had critic by publics, because this system had bring problems to public when dealing with civil cases. Base of Lord Woolf report, Access to Justice, the main problem had encounter in this system is too expensive, delay and complexity. High costs force the public to delay the claims and the claims amount less then the court fees especially the case below the amount £12,500. Furthermore, a lawyer is required when the process is very complexity .Delay from time of incident to take place in trial need 3 years for county court and 5 years for the high court, so it made more difficult to collect the proof. Besides, too injustice, too adversarial and emphasis on oral evidence also problems on this system.
After the Woolf reform had implemented on 26 April 1999, the main objective is to reduce the needless cost, postpone and complexity in this system. The lawyers and judges are ask to record down the guide in making decision in a litigation more detail then before and change the culture of litigation as well.
According to the final report, Access to Justice, the new rules are more concerns to the avoiding litigation wherever possible through pre-trial settlement. Publics are to encourages to take the litigation as a last resort before continue to court.
Furthermore, this reform has come with new approach of civil procedure, such as civil procedure rules, pre-action protocols and alternative dispute resolution. Civil Procedure Rules, the new rules implemented on 1999 is to making the process more simple and produce a new consolidate procedural code, for high court and county court reinforce by Practice Direction, this action is to replace the former system. Pre-action protocols, is a code for manage the pre-trial stage and it normally deal with case like personal injury and housing cases. The main objective for this action is to encourage more cases settle before reach trial, progress pre-action investigation, and switch the information between two parties.
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