However, code pleading was criticized because many lawyers felt that it was too difficult to fully research all the facts needed to bring a complaint before one had even initiated the action, and thus meritorious plaintiffs could not bring their complaints in time before the statute of limitations expired. Code pleading has also been criticized as promoting "hypertechnical reading of legal papers.
A variant of 'Notice Pleading' is used wherever possible, which is called the 'Pre-Action Protocols'. There are various Pre-Action Protocols, covering different types of dispute, and one general practice direction covering everything else. Whilst they vary slightly, the protocols all follow the same idea. As soon as someone becomes aware they are likely to bring a claim against someone, they should first write a short letter to their prospective opponent telling them. Once they have sufficient information to set out roughly what the claim is about, they should write what has now been termed a 'protocol letter', setting out all the information they base their claim on, confirming all the details of the claim, and including a request for any documents held by the opponent.
The opponent should acknowledge having received the letter, and after that, within a reasonable time (usually three months), write a letter of response, enclosing any requested documents.
The parties should then negotiate a settlement. Only if a settlement cannot be reached, or if the statute of limitations is due to expire, should a Claim be formally commenced in the court, and by that time each party should have all the information they need to provide comprehensive pleadings.
If a party does not co-operate with the pre-action protocol, they could find themselves penalised by having to pay the other party's legal bills, and / or getting an order made against them for disclosure (discovery)
Once proceedings formally start, there is a strict timetable for Statements of Case, which this time have to be fully plead, setting out all the main allegations each party will make. The Claimant must deliver his / her pleadings to the opponent within four months of starting the claim (in fact the court usually does this for the Claimant automatically as soon as the Claim is commenced).
The Defendant has two weeks to respond with either a tender of a sum of money, an admission of liability, an admission together with a request for time to pay, a Defence (the Defendant's pleading), a Counter-claim or a combination of the above.
If two weeks is insufficient, if the Defendant acknowledges to the court that they have received the documents, that period will be extended to four weeks. The parties can agree an extension of up to eight weeks if they wish.
If a Defence is filed, the Claimant may provide a further pleading called a 'Reply', although that is optional. If there is a Counterclaim, the Claimant needs to either admit that or provide a further pleading called 'Defence to Part 20 Claim'.
Once all this has happened, a stage known as 'Close of Pleadings' is reached, and the case will progress, although it is not uncommon for Pleadings to be amended after this point if the court agrees.
Injuries on Deck: When a Passenger Is Injured aboard a Cruise Ship, the Lawsuit Presents Challenges Unique to Maritime Law. Here Are Some Points to Consider before Filing Suit
Aug 01, 2012; [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Although cruise ship litigation is not something the typical trial lawyer handles on a daily basis, the...