On the 6th of September 2021, after years of speculation, the Government dealt personal injury solicitors’ an unsettling blow by announcing that it will move forward with plans to implement a fixed recoverable cost system on cases valued up to £100,000.
David Bott, Senior Partner at Bott and Co has described this as a disrupter announcement.
“It is fair to say that the Government’s response has come out of the blue and does not say when it will happen but that it will apply to accidents after the date of implementation.
The background to this is that the idea was raised in Lord Justice Jackson’s Report in 2017, there was a consultation request in 2019 and now there is a consultation response with no implementation mentioned but that it could be later this year” David said.
The implementation will mean that all fast-track cases will be allocated to one of four bands of complexity, as set out in rules already applying to some personal injury cases.
The Government says it is being done to ‘provide parties with certainty’ and on the back of personal injury fixed costs that have in the Governments view promoted access to justice for both claimants and defendants.
David continues “Ultimately, is this good or bad news for an injured claimant or a defendant insurer? The Government says it is good news for both.”
Justice minister Lord Wolfson of Tredegar QC said that “the case for extending fixed recoverable costs remains strong: uncertainty of costs hinders access to justice, while certainty of costs set at a proportionate and fair level enhances it.”
David Bott says, “the actual answer will become clear over the next 5 years, as claimant law firms will have to reinvent and remodel themselves and insurer behaviours will become clear.”