George Osborne’s plans to shake up personal injury are in abeyance, though the government insists it remains ‘committed’ to reform ‘in due course’.
‘In due course’ seems to be the MoJ’s favourite phrase just now – witness Lord Keen’s statement on reviewing LASPO. And what about plans to extend fixed fees more broadly across civil litigation?
Not much seems to be happening here, either. After Jackson’s LJ’s surprise call in January for a major extension of fixed costs for claims worth up to £250,000, the Civil Justice Council moved into action, organising a big stakeholder meeting. There has not been another since.
In a sense, the more time that elapses, the easier it could be. More and more data is being captured by costs budgeting, so all the billing information that the government needs to set fee levels will have been served up on a plate.
There is, of course, a flurry of activity relating to clinical negligence, with hopes high that the claims threshold will be set at £25,000. Next up will be a fixed-fee regime for noise-induced hearing loss.
But progress is now cautious and pragmatic (amen to that) and we should not be surprised. The resourcing demands on the ministry in the face of swingeing budget cuts and in the shadow of Brexit are formidable.
There are bigger fish to fry.