The introduction of Fixed Costs in most cases with a value up to £100,000, which was originally expected in April 2023 has now been pushed back to October. Speaking to the Civil Justice Council on 18 November 2022 Lord Bellamy said:-
We’re very conscious of how important it is to get this right… a little more time… will give the sector more time to adjustLord Bellamy – Civil Justice council, 18 November 2022
Fixed costs are controversial amongst some in the legal sector. Lord Bellamy accepted that fixed costs required a “complex set of rules” and it “hasn’t been easy”. Many practitioners remain skeptical that fixed costs as currently proposed are workable. In particular, some have pointed out continuing satellite litigation in relation to the existing Fixed Costs regimes in RTA and EL/PL claims as evidence that Fixed Costs do not reduce the volume of litigation.
Whilst some may breathe a sigh of relief, this is only a delay. Lawyers should use this time to prepare and test their business models to ensure that they are robust. There should be particular emphasis on reviewing client contracts and retainers to reflect the changing market and the Belsner judgment.
Matthew Rose is a solicitor in the Clarion Costs and Legal Funding Department. You can contact the team at email@example.com.