Ministers need to give court reforms time to bed in before they consider extending fixed recoverable legal costs in civil litigation cases, the Law Society of England and Wales said in its response to the government’s consultation.
“We support the principle of fixed recoverable costs for low value and non-complex claims but there is a genuine risk with more complex claims that the vulnerable and the less well-off will be left unable to seek justice,” said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws.
“In any case the further upheaval of changing the rules while the effects of court reforms remain unclear mean we cannot support the proposals in the consultation.
“A regime to limit the recoverable costs of civil litigation will need to be carefully calibrated if it is to be fair to everyone engaged in a claim.
“But there is too little data underpinning the government’s proposals to guarantee the appropriateness of the proposed fixed recoverable costs which would apply across almost the entire spectrum of civil litigation.”
The government’s consultation, which is based on a 2017 report by Sir Rupert Jackson, recommends that fixed recoverable costs should apply to civil claims valued up to £25,000, with a further fixed recoverable costs regime for some cases of modest complexity up to £100,000.
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