We do not oppose the principle of fixed costs for straightforward, low value claims, but suggestions that costs should be fixed for all claims up to £250,000 are concerning.
Responding to the news that Lord Justice Jackson has been commissioned to undertake a review of fixed recoverable costs, to be completed by July 2017, Law Society president Robert Bourns said: ‘We had a strong indication earlier in the year that ministers were looking to expand the areas of civil litigation where fixed recoverable costs apply - this was referred to in the ‘Transforming Our Justice System’ proposals unveiled in September.
‘We do not oppose the principle of fixed costs for straightforward, low value claims as they can provide some certainty for both sides in litigation and avoid protracted disputes about the level of costs.
‘But we have previously expressed concern at suggestions that costs should be fixed for all claims up to £250,000 - a tenfold increase on the current limit for many claims subject to a fixed cost regime. Cases at this level of compensation include situations where people have been very seriously harmed and where the application of fixed costs would be totally inappropriate. It would also raise significant questions about people’s ability to access justice.
‘Such a one size fits all approach for all cases, regardless of complexity, will simply make many cases economically unviable, undermining the principle of justice delivering fairness for all.’