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Fixed recoverable costs call for evidence - the Law Society's response

30 January 2017

The Law Society has responded to Lord Justice Jackson's call for evidence for a review into fixed recoverable costs.

The aim of the review was to develop proposals to extend the fixed recoverable cost scheme in England and Wales, making the costs of going to court more certain, transparent and proportionate for litigants.

Lord Justice Jackson is proposing to introduce changes so that a successful litigant, instead of receiving all of their reasonable legal costs back, would get a pre-determined fixed sum.

The Law Society submitted their response to the review on 29 January 2016, and the report to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of Rolls must be published by 31 July 2017

The Law Society is not opposed to fixed recoverable costs in principle, but believes the following conditions should be met when attempting to alter them:

  • They should only apply to non-complex claims, where the issues are likely to be straightforward.
  • There must be scope for exemptions and escapes for complex or unusual cases.
  • Rates should be based on empirical evidence, regularly reviewed with reference to appropriate indices.
  • Rates should be fixed reasonably for the work done and to allow for the work to be carried out effectively and efficiently by properly regulated professionals, such as solicitors.
  • Court procedures and rules must be properly aligned with their introduction.
  • Appropriate and efficient IT in the court system should be introduced to support the fair and effective delivery of any new FRC regime.