CJC presses ahead on fixed-costs extension
Plans to extend fixed costs across the whole of civil litigation are already progressing, the Gazette has learned.
The Civil Justice Council has invited around 20 senior judges, lawyers, costs lawyers and academics to begin hammering out the issues relating to fixed costs at a first workshop next week. A representative from the Ministry of Justice will also attend.
The advisory body told invitees that as government had ‘expressed an interest’ in extending fixed recoverable costs, the workshop would look at the ‘principle’ of the extension in the context of other changes taking place in the justice system.
The first meeting will take place on Friday 11 March, and is likely to be followed by further meetings.
Last month, Lord Justice Jackson (pictured) proposed a dramatic broadening of fixed recoverable costs across all civil litigation, for claims worth up to £250,000. The judge said he believed that if the ‘political will’ is there, the changes could be accomplished ‘during the course of this year’.
Responding to Jackson’s speech, an MoJ spokesman said government ‘remains supportive of the principle of extending fixed recoverable costs and will consider Lord Justice Jackson’s comments carefully’.
In his speech, Jackson suggested that the CJC, which advises the government and judiciary on the civil justice system, could organise ‘facilitative meetings’ to ‘debate fixed costs figures’ – as it did in 2009 before the introduction of fixed costs in low-value road traffic accident claims.
It is understood that next week’s meeting will be limited to the principle of the fixed costs extension rather than looking at figures.