Legal Cost Specialists

New fixed fees v old fixed fees

In an earlier post I discussed the proposed new claims process and questioned what the relationship would be between the proposed new staged fixed fees under the new claims process and the existing fixed predictable costs (CPR 45.7-45.14). It was far from obvious how the existing fixed fee system could survive alongside the new proposed fixed fees. Equally, it seemed contrary to all common sense to scrap a system that had just about bedded-in and was, for the most part, working reasonably well.

It appears that this problem has been giving those responsible for trying to draft the new rules similar headaches. At last year’s Motor Accident Solicitors Society annual conference, Janet Tilley, who sits on the Ministry of Justice stakeholder group, told the conference that certain issues had been "parked", including the interface with the current predictable costs regime.

Having abandoned the idea of having the new claims process cover anything other than low value RTAs, surely the sensible way forward was simply to introduce some simple, staged, fixed fees for the litigated cases on top of the current fixed fees, and dispense with the new claims process idea entirely. The failure to introduce fixed fees for all stages of low value RTAs was the main weakness in the existing scheme and could have been easily solved.

It will be fascinating to see how the problems created by the proposed new claims process and the proposed new staged fixed fees will be resolved.

2 thoughts on “New fixed fees v old fixed fees”

  1. Lord Woolf stressed in his original report that proportionality was critical to the success of his reforms. This would most easily be achieved by having fixed fees. As we have fixed fees in such a small number of cases, it’s almost inevitable that insurers will always believe (generally quite rightly, but then again, I am biased) that fees are fixed by lawyers for lawyers and policed by lawyers. As a result, agreement on fixed or fixed staged fees will always be extremely difficult if not impossible to reach. We need someone to impose a new regime: that will probably hurt everyone but at least there would be some degree of certainty.

  2. Pingback: Legal costs uncertainty continues for costs draftsmen and lawyers : GWS Law

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