The proposals include abolishing recoverability of success fees and after-the-event insurance premiums so that claimants have an interest in controlling their costs. General damages payments would be increased by ten per cent to balance the impact of this, and the increase would apply whether or not the case proceeded to court.
Contingency fees, under which lawyers take a proportion of the claimant’s damages as fees, would be permitted. Personal injury claimants would be protected from paying a winning defendant’s costs through qualified one-way costs shifting. The prescribed recoverable rate for litigants in person would rise from £9.25 to £20.
Michael Todd QC, Vice Chairman-Elect of the Bar, said: “The Bar Council wants a civil justice system that works effectively and in the interests of all of those with a stake in it. There is a great deal that we shall need to reflect on in the government’s civil litigation consultation.”