The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in February, 2010

Jackson Report – Latest twist

By on Feb 26, 2010 | 0 comments

The future of the Jackson Costs Review becomes ever more intriguing and yesterday’s post on the Jackson Review may only tell half the story. I have received information from a reliable source that both main political parties support the Jackson reforms, but that support is not particularly strong on the opposition’s side. The opposition support only parts of it, but they are looking more at setting up a CLAF rather than implementing the proposals. If this happens, then large parts of the reforms will not be implemented (or, if they are implemented, they will be implemented late).  If true, this would seem to turn conventional wisdom on its head in terms of the political element of the Jackson Review.   To make things even more interesting is the latest claim from the insurance industry that the public will pay more if the Jackson Report is implemented. Aviva claims it has computer-modeled Jackson’s final report and found that civil litigation costs under the proposed system would increase, rather than fall as intended. The extra costs would have to be passed on to all policy holders in the form of higher premiums.  This is based on the proposal for a 10% increase in general damages.   It is somewhat hard to understand what modeling system produced such an odd outcome.    The claimant lobby had been suggesting the Report is the insurers’ dream come true, with Tom Jones, head of policy and public affairs at Thompsons, saying on publication: “the champagne corks will be popping at insurers’ headquarters.  They have got almost everything they have been lobbing for”.   I suspect this is a bit of clever spin by insurers (and why not?).  By suggesting they are not entirely behind the Report it implies it must be a more balanced set of proposals and increases its prospects of overcoming the political problems.   As Jackson LJ said: “It is interesting that the claimant lawyers are saying to me that the 10% uplift is too mean, but the insurers are saying that the increase of 10% is too generous.  It’s just possible that the balance of the report is...

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Jackson Review – Gaining support

By on Feb 25, 2010 | 0 comments

The big issue over the Jackson Review of Civil Litigation Costs is whether there is the political will to implement the proposals.  It appears that the Final Report is now starting to gain the political support it needs. The Law Society Gazette reports: "The government and the opposition have hinted that they would implement some of Lord Justice Jackson’s recommendations on civil litigation costs, following the first parliamentary exchange on the judge’s report since its publication a month ago.  Justice secretary Jack Straw said: ‘Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals… are designed to reduce the costs of civil litigation overall. Those costs have risen too high, and that is a bar to proper access to justice.’ He said that the government is ‘actively assessing’ the proposals." Dominic Regan, writing in the New Law Journal, says: "The greatest myth of the moment is that ‘Jackson will never happen’.  It will and...

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Costs draftsmen's late Christmas present

By on Feb 24, 2010 | 0 comments

A number of readers no doubt work in the area of RTA claims.  Some at the front-end of the claims process dealing with the substantive claim, others at the tail-end of the costs side.  Hopefully, those readers will therefore be aware that we have a new claims process for low value RTAs starting on 6 April 2010 (and if they didn’t know they are in real trouble). What some of the more observant may have noticed is that despite being only a few weeks away from the start date we still have no published rules as to how the scheme will work.  Quite how this shocking state of affairs arose is a mystery.  However, finally, some progress is being made.  The Ministry of Justice has written to a number of specific bodies: “The Civil Procedure Rule Committee approved the drafts of the documents listed below on the 12th February 2010.  These documents are in draft form until:  (1) the Statutory Instrument has been signed by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee and the Minister and then laid before Parliament, and (2) the practice direction making document has been signed by the Minister and the Master of the Rolls.    It is expected that the Statutory Instrument will be laid before Parliament by the beginning of March.  In view of the familiarisation, training and system adjustments that practitioners will need to undertake in order to be compliant with the new process we have decided [how gracious of the powers that be] to circulate these rules etc in draft form.  Please circulate to your members as appropriate.” In case these haven’t yet made their way to you, the Legal Costs Blog and Gibbs Wyatt Stone have provided a link to all the draft documents here: RTA Claims Process.  Read them and weep.  No surprise that the final report in the Jackson Costs Review commented on the new process in this way: “I have two concerns about the new process in its present form.  My first concern is the sheer complexity of the process.  Over 80 pages of new material will be added to the rule book, in order to deal with the simplest category of litigation which exists, namely low value RTA claims where liability is admitted.  I fear that collectively these procedures might possibly open up a new theatre for the costs war.” And that,...

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Costs muppet

By on Feb 19, 2010 | 3 comments

A further definition from The (Alternative) Legal Costs Dictionary: Costs muppet n. someone who had the stuffing knocked out of them when they read the Jackson Report’s proposals in relation to fixed fees.

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Jackson Report – An Overview

By on Feb 18, 2010 | 0 comments

The legal press and various other sources have been busy in recent weeks providing various summaries and commentaries on the final report of the Jackson Costs Review.  One of the best comes from specialist costs counsel Andrew Hogan of Ropewalk Chambers (although I don’t necessarily agree with all of his interpretations of the proposals or their possible consequences). For those of you who have not yet read the full 557 pages of the report (shame on you) or feel you are not fully up to speed with some of the recommendations and implications, I can thoroughly recommend this. The first newsletter provides an overview of the report, the second newsletter looks at it implications and proposals in relation to personal injury litigation and the third newsletter considers the practical difficulties thrown up by Lord Justice Jackson’s...

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