Djanogly: QOCS applies to all
Qualified one-way costs-shifting (QOCS) will apply to all personal injury claimants no matter what their financial means, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed.
In a written ministerial statement today, justice minister Jonathan Djanogly (pictured) said there would be no financial test to determine eligibility. The new costs regime is being introduced as part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, due to come into force from next April.
QOCS will mean that claimants conducting their case properly do not have to pay towards defendants’ costs if the claim fails. Protection would be lost only if the claim is found to be fraudulent, if the claimant has failed to beat a defendant’s ‘part 36’ offer to settle, or where the case has been struck out where it is an abuse of the court’s process.
Djanogly also confirmed that the MoJ is considering whether QOCS protection should apply to elements of a claim for personal injury pursued for the benefit of a third party.
Under part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules, there is to be an additional sanction paid where the judgment for the claimant is more advantageous than a defendant’s part 36 offer. This will be calculated at 10% of damages where damages are in issue, and 10% of costs for non-damages claims.
Sanctions will be gradually reduced for claims over £500,000 and there will be only one sanction applicable for split trials.
The rules were drafted following advice from the Civil Justice Council and will be considered by the CPR Committee in the autumn, to come into effect next April.