The Law Society’s judicial review of the 2017 Regulations limiting the PPE that can be claimed under the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) to 6,000 pages has been allowed. Provided the judgment stands, the Regulations will be quashed (which means they will have no legal effect). They have applied to funding orders in Crown Court cases from 1 December 2017.
The High Court judgment handed down on 3 August 2018 is also highly critical of the Ministry of Justice’s approach to consulting the profession. Statistical analysis described by the Lord Chancellor’s principal witness as 'crucial' to the PPE cut decision was withheld from all consultees. The analysis was disclosed during the course of the litigation and then analysed by the Law Society’s expert witness, Professor Abigail Adams, who identified fundamental errors. The court went on to hold that these errors meant it had been irrational for the Lord Chancellor to rely on it.
This represents a significant victory for the Law Society and reinforces our call to the MoJ to abandon this interim measure, and return to discussions about the long term future of the LGFS. However, we recognise that this decision merely marks a return to the status quo ante in which firms were already facing serious economic problems. As our heat map clearly shows, we still have a long-term crisis of declining firm numbers and increasing average practitioner age which the government needs to take drastic action to avert.
Download the key points from the judgment: