Practice directions are made by the courts under a jurisdiction usually called “inherent”. Directions do not have statutory authority but are sometimes used to introduce important procedural innovations. Now, the Civil Procedure Act 1997 envisages that a rule of court, instead of providing for something, may refer to directions, actual or to be made: directions covered by this do have statutory authority.
Practice directions “supplementing” many of the Parts of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 were issued alongside the rules. Not all of these fall within the Act of 1997, but the “inherent” jurisdiction, which has not been displaced, can justify them. In the result, there are now two kinds of practice direction: some have the authority of statute and others do not. This article examines a confusing situation and makes some suggestions.