This third instalment of Clarion’s mini-series on preparing for the forthcoming fixed costs reforms, looks at recently announced changes following the Civil Procedure Rule Committee meeting on 3 March 2023.
It was intended that the new rules would take effect in October 2022, however implementation was delayed until April 2023. It was then announced in November 2022 that there would be a further delay until October 2023 due to the complexity of the reforms. It is still intended that the new rules will take effect from October 2023, however there will be changes to the scheme when it comes into effect.
The most important development is that there will be a general transitional provision whereby the new rules will apply to claims where proceedings are issued on or after 1 October 2023, save where the claim is for personal injury (including disease claims). In personal injury claims, the new rules will apply where the cause of action accrues on or after 1 October 2023 and they will apply to disease claims where the letter of claim has not been sent to the Defendant before 1 October 2023.
A proposed new practice direction has been drafted setting out the rates for the fast track, intermediate track, and noise induced hearing loss claims. Previous versions of the rates were based on an initial report prepared by Lord Justice Jackson in 2017, and it has now been confirmed the rates will be uprated for inflation using the January 2023 Services Producer Price Index. This is an interesting development, as it was not expected that the rates would be uprated.
Other changes being considered include amended provisions in respect of disclosure to achieve a consistent approach between the fast track and intermediate track.
Further drafting work will continue and it is anticipated that the final draft amendments will be presented to the committee ahead of the next meeting on 31 March 2023. This mini-series will be updated as and when further information becomes available.
Robert Patterson is a Senior Associate in Clarion’s Costs and Litigation Funding team. You can contact the team at CivlandCommercialCosts@clarionsolicitors.com