CJC presses ahead on fixed-costs extension

Topics: Civil justice,Costs, fees and funding,Litigation,Litigation Funding

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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.

Readers' comments (24)

  • Shall we all jump off a cliff now, or just prolong the agony and the absolute incompetent meddling?

    What gets me is that (broadly speaking) in real terms legal costs have gone down massively especially in the field of PI and clinical negligence, and guideline hourly rates have remained static since 2010.

    I still do not understand why there is a need to interfere. let the parties negotiate costs and let a judge hammer down on any excessive bills. Job done.

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  • Yes, but then certain people would not get the opportunity to make it LOOK as if they are NEEDED in their job

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  • Who are these "20 senior judges, lawyers, costs lawyers and academics" that are potentially deciding our future!

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  • There will not be a meeting it has already been decided it is just a way of pretending it is being discussed.

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  • Be bold, be daring, and be courageous,by now joining with others in fighting this devious emasculation of UK justice.

    Martin Coyne has issued today at the Claims Conference a call to arms.

    This may be lawyers with a passion for justice last chance to stop the rot.

    Please join this important action group now, and the name is simply "Access to Justice"

    They have a very good web site.

    Don't regret later what might have been!

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  • Fixed costs are inevitable.

    Cases will have to be run as efficiently as possible and will probably see a general reduction in the number of fee earners but an increase in their case loads. Fewer people, doing more work, for smaller fees. That will probably produce a market where only a few firms can make the work profitable. Only the best fee earners will be able to make the work profitable.

    Difficult to see how quality of work will not suffer as a consequence, but that is the challenge that faces us.

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  • The difficulty with mounting a strong opposition to fixed costs is that the general public will see fixed costs as a good thing

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  • To those who say that fixed costs are inevitable I say have the courage of your convictions and remember why you qualified.

    I am with Stephen and have joined "Access to Justice" today.

    Do something to save your profession!!

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  • "Each journey of a thousand miles starts with a few small steps"

    Get involved with saving the profession and feel that you have made a difference

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  • I really do not like anonymous if you have something to say then say it and put your name to it what are you scared of?

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