Fired up by the apparent increase in law costs and funding of litigation, increase of claims and the notion of ‘no win no fee’ deal, the Jackson Reform changed the customary way that legal funding had been conducted for over a decade. These reforms, as suggested by Lord Justice Jackson, would change the way law costs in cases are being treated, as they provide a means to make it parallel and relational to the cases. As summoned by the government, Lord Jackson paved way to a change in the way litigation is being furnished through the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO). However, it was claimed that the reform does not highlight alterations on existing rules but would only include certain additions to it.
A couple of major changes are brought in by the reforms which came into effect last April. The reforms introduce Damages Based Agreements (DBAs) or contingency fees. In here, part of the damages can be shared by the lawyers as a contingency fee. Also, ATE or After the Event Insurance premiums and losing defendants’ success fees can no longer be revoked. This implies that those parties on the verge of losing only face the costs of the litigation and nothing more beyond it. Moreover, the introduction of the Qualified One Way Costs Shifting (QOCS) signifies that, adhering to certain exception; defendants are asked to pay the costs of winning claimants but will not mend their own costs if they successfully uphold the claim. It aims to diminish the need for ATE in personal injury and clinical negligence litigation. Both parties are also mandated by the Court to produce a cost budget as part of cost management. Also, the provision and amendments on Part 36 offers enable the Court to have power against anyone who unjustly refuses a claimant’s offer of Part 36.
The change in 44.13 to 44.17 of the CPR would entail modifications in the legal cost system especially in the detailed assessment of costs, as handled by the law cost draftsmen. For instance, familiarity with the QOCS exceptions would be vital for lawcost draftsmen .Thus, having a foresight on the apparent impacts of the reform is important for draftsmen. The QOCS may eventually have an effect on settlement behaviors like, winning a Part 36 offer would nudge the burden of the cost back to the claimant. Also, the abolition of the recovery of ATE premiums and CFA success fees may entails risks that minor and less valued cases are no longer practical to carry out. In cases where large sums are involved, the maximum penalty of £75,000 might not dissuade defendants in the reform that an unsuccessful defendant on beating a Part 36 offer of a claimant, is liable to shell out another 10% on damages. Indeed, although it has been implemented only for an early short span of time, its impact on the UK legal system is apparent.
Andrew Simon is an expert who provides professional costing services with years of expertise. With his supervision Cumberland Costings, a leading firm with team of highly professional costs lawyers and law cost draftsman has given a new direction to costing process. Together with his team he has set remarkable standards of delivering superior services to their clients.
Revolutionizing Irrepressible Claims and Costs