Preliminary findings on civil litigation cost review

The Bar Council has reacted with interest to Lord Justice Jackson’s provisional view on “no win no fee” agreements contained in his preliminary report in his Review of Civil Litigation Costs.


In the report, published on 8 May, Jackson LJ states: “following the retraction of legal aid, either conditional fee agreements (CFAs) or some other system of payment by results (contingent fee agreements, CLAF, SLAS, third party funding agreements etc) must exist in order to facilitate access to justice.” “The real issue … is how CFAs or alternative ‘no win – no fee’ arrangements should be structured, not whether they should exist,” he continues.

Welcoming the report, the Bar Chairman, Desmond Browne QC, said: “Public funding for civil cases is now unavailable in many areas. Very careful consideration therefore needs to be given to the means whereby meritorious litigants are assured of the access to justice which they deserve.”

Michael Todd QC, Chair of the Bar Council Jackson Working Group, said: “I note that Lord Justice Jackson has focused on questions relating to cost shifting, fixed costs, personal injury claims, controlling the costs of ‘heavy’ litigation, CFAs and ATE insurance, and alternative methods of funding access to civil justice. We are concerned that the ever-increasing costs burden of civil litigation results in a denial of access to justice for the many people who cannot afford those costs. That is clearly not in the public interest.”

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