Fixed Costs

At last!

Jackson LJ has, despite his fervent wish in his lecture of 29 January 2016, accepted a comission to review fixed costs of civil litigation – per the Judiciary website: the terms being:

  1. To develop proposals for extending the present civil fixed recoverable costs regime in England and Wales so as to make the costs of going to court more certain, transparent and proportionate for litigants.
  2. To consider the types and areas of litigation in which such costs should be extended, and the value of claims to which such a regime should apply.
  3. To report to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls by the 31st July 2017.

This step is a logical follow through from the vast data gathered in precedent H forms filed and we can hope will ultimately reduce overheads (time  recording, drawing schedules, precedent H and bills) and satellite litigation and allow the courts and parties to focus on the dispute itself.

This step can also be expected to bring more litigation into the realms of affordability, a defendant can see clearly what is claimed against it and know what its costs exposure is in advance; likewise a claimant can consider the sums it will need to venture to bring a claim. With any luck this will also help drive the pricing of after the event insurance to a market-led level to meet the fixed risk which will then  be faced.

Whilst any fixed costs regime will inflict some rough justice on the parties, the certainty of the costs being faced should open up access to the courts for more litigants.