Call to extend fixed costs as ministers delay regime for clinical negligence


Extending the fixed costs regime is the only way to bring down civil litigation costs, according to Lord Justice Jackson.

The architect of the present civil costs regime reiterated his call for fixed recoverable costs to be extended from personal injury claims to all cases up to £250,000.

He told a conference organised by the Westminster Legal Policy Forum in May that extending the fixed costs regime for all remaining fast-track cases was ‘unfinished business’ that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.

He said: ‘I do ask you to accept that the only way to control costs is to do so in advance. That will mean that each side will know what they have to pay out if they lose, and what they get back if they win.’

He suggested this could be achieved through either a grid setting cost rates for different cases or having a budget tailored to individual kinds of case.

Jackson said he hoped ‘serious consideration’ would be given to the fast and multi-track regimes.

Meanwhile, ministers took the decision temporarily to delay controversial plans to impose fixed costs in clinical negligence claims up to £250,000. The scheme was due to come into force on 1 October.

But health minister Ben Gummer confirmed that the implementation would not go ahead as planned and that a consultation will be published later in the year.

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