The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in July, 2008

Ministry of Justice Response

By on Jul 25, 2008 | 0 comments

The Government has now published its Response to the consultation paper: Case track limits and the claims process for personal injury claims. This has already received a mixed reaction in the legal and insurance press but here we will simply deal with the costs issues, which appear to have only received limited commentary to date. The Straightforward Bits The small claims limit for personal injury claims will remain unaltered and so there will be no costs implications as a result. The fast track limit will be increased to £25,000. This will have limited impact in terms of costs. There may be some reduction in trial costs as more claims will now be subject to fixed advocates fees. Whether this leads to a demand for the level of these fees to be increased remains to be seen. The radical proposals to prevent recoverability of ATE premiums if the policy is taken out at the outset of a claim have been entirely abandoned. The New Claims Process A new claims process will be introduced. Although it was previously envisaged this would apply to all personal injury claims, except clinical negligence ones, that fell within the new fast track limit, it has now been decided that this will only apply to RTA claims with a value of no more than £10,000. This will significantly limit the impact of the new scheme, and as a result has met with much disappointment from defendant organisations. Nevertheless, RTA claims do account for 70-75% of the personal injury market. The new claims process will be divided into three stages which, in simple terms, will cover: Stage 1 – The initial consideration of the claim and submitting a “claim notification form” to the defendant and the defendant’s response on liability, within a 15 day time limit. Stage 2 – Where liability is admitted: obtaining medical evidence and details of special damages and the making of the claimant’s offer to settle, and settlement negotiations. Stage 3 – If quantum is not agreed at Stage 2, an application will be made to the court for a quantum hearing. It is proposed that each of these three stages will be subject to fixed fees. The amount of these is yet...

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