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Rule-making Policies

Rules Objectives
Rules Committee Final Responsibility
Avoiding Procedural Rules in Statutes
Avoiding Fragmentation into Discrete Rule Systems
Drafting Requirements

Rules Objectives

Rule 1.2 of the High Court Rules states "These rules shall be so construed as to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of any proceeding or interlocutory application". Rule 1.3 of the District Court Rules is identical.


Rules Committee Final Responsibility

Although Government departments, the Law Commission, and other agencies may suggest rule changes, the committee will independently review the proposed rules and has final responsibility. The committee welcomes participation by agency representatives, including their attendance at committee meetings.


Avoiding Procedural Rules in Statutes

Detailed procedures should be in separately promulgated rules and not in statutes.

Including detailed procedure in a statute leads to:

  • Anomalies between the particular procedure in question and all other forms of litigation;
  • Difficulties in administering court systems containing inconsistent procedures;
  • Freezing of the statutory procedure without opportunity to keep pace with the improvements and changes constantly going on in court processes; and
  • Non-compliance by the legal profession and lay persons due to lack of familiarity and accessibility.


Avoiding Fragmentation into Discrete Rule Systems

Wherever possible procedural rules, directions and guidelines should be absorbed into the principal rules. Discrete sets of rules governing particular forms of proceeding should be avoided. Examples where it has been necessary to actively apply this policy against contrary views have included insolvency, admiralty, the Commercial List, probate and administration, companies winding up, patents, election petitions and habeas corpus.

The policy is based on the need for consistency and accessibility.


Drafting requirements

Rules are required to be clear, concise, simple and consistent, and should avoid duplication.


Key principles and purposes

At the meeting on 31 March 2014, the Rules Committee adopted a document on setting out the general principles of civil justice and the key principles of civil procedure to guide the Committee in reviewing and reforming rules of civil procedure. This document can be found here.