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Fixed recoverable costs review

  • Lord Justice Jackson is undertaking a review of fixed recoverable costs. The review will conclude by 31 July 2017 and his recommendations will inform the government's public consultation on proposed reforms to the costs regime.

    The terms of reference for the review include:

    • developing proposals for extending the present civil fixed recoverable costs regime in England and Wales to make the costs of going to court more certain, transparent and proportionate for litigants
    • considering the types and areas of litigation in which such costs should be extended, and the value of claims to which such a regime should apply.

    Lord Justice Jackson has previously called for the extension of the fixed recoverable costs regime for claims up to the value of £250,000.

    The Law Society does not oppose the principle of fixed recoverable costs for lower-value and less complex cases. These can provide some certainty for both sides in litigation and avoid lengthy disputes about the level of costs.

    However, we believe the application of fixed costs for highly complex cases is likely to be wholly inappropriate and will affect the ability of many people to access justice.

    Fixed costs for all claims up to £250,000 would represent a tenfold increase on the current limit for many claims subject to a fixed cost regime. This level of compensation includes cases where people have been seriously harmed and where the application of fixed costs would be inappropriate and would affect people's ability to access justice. Such a 'one size fits all' approach for all cases, regardless of complexity, will make many cases economically unfeasible, undermining the principle of justice delivering fairness for all.

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