A working alternative to recoverable success fees?
As the tension mounts as to what might be going through the mind of Lord Justice Jackson as he prepares his final report on his civil costs review, might he be influenced by the litigation landscape north of the boarder? The recently published Report of the Scottish Civil Courts Review states that the majority of damages claims in Scotland are pursued on the basis of "speculative fee arrangements" (no win, no fee agreements). This is despite the fact that: "Unlike in England and Wales, success fees and ‘after the event’ insurance premiums are not recoverable and will have to be paid by a successful [claimant] from the damages recovered, unless they are waived or absorbed by the [claimant’s] solicitor". Jackson LJ’s Preliminary Report raises a number of concerns about the English system of recoverable success fees and ATE premiums. If non-recovery seems to work in Scotland, why not here?
And while Jackson LJ may be looking north of the boarder, they are looking back. The Scottish report concludes: "We have given careful consideration to the use made of speculative fee arrangements in this country and the experience of conditional fee agreements in England and Wales. We consider that it would be premature to recommend any changes to speculative fee agreements as they are presently constituted in Scotland. The civil costs review in England and Wales chaired by Lord Justice Jackson should be monitored for its research findings and its conclusions"
Deep-fried Mars Bar anyone?