Judicial Review issued in relation to October’s Fixed Costs reforms

It has been confirmed that Judicial Review proceedings have been issued by Association of Personal Injury lawyers (APIL), against the Lord Chancellor, in relation to the extended fixed costs rules which are currently due to come into effect on 1 October. Our understanding is that a challenge has been launched in relation to four key grounds:

  • The failure to consult properly on the inclusion of some clinical negligence cases under the extended regime, and specifically when they will apply.
  • The lack of certainty regarding how additional costs incurred because of vulnerable parties is to be dealt with. Including, the fact that no uplift can be applied without an application at the end of a case.
  • The lack of certainty in relation to representation at inquests and how those costs are dealt with.
  • Concerns that the wording of the proposed new CPR 45.1 (3), and the apparent inability of parties to contract out of the extended regime.

All these issues are ones which attracted largely negative commentary in the build up to the implementation of the extended regime. In particular, the lack of clarity as to the timing as to when an admission of breach of duty and causation in a clinical negligence matter might limit a Claimant’s Solicitors to fixed costs. Certainty on all the above is welcomed prior to the implementation of any new rules. Most of the issues are ones which are currently under consultation by the MOJ, with responses to the consultation open until 8 September.

By agreement, the Judicial review proceedings are to be stayed until three weeks after the government responds to the MOJ consultation. Parliament is currently in recess until 4 September, and with just over 5 weeks until the new rules are implemented, there is a race against time to see whether the government pushes ahead with implementation, or perhaps wisely, takes the decision to postpone plans further until key issues are resolved.

For further information on the consultation, please contact Clarion’s Costs and Litigation Funding Department who can be contacted on any fixed costs issues, at our new dedicated fixed costs email addressatFRC@clarionsolicitors.com.

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