Litigation lawyers should ‘ignore Jackson at their peril’ regardless of a landmark costs ruling that appeared to undermine imminent reforms, a solicitor in the case said this week.

James Heath, from London firm Taylor Hampton Solicitors, warned firms not to be complacent about costs despite helping to convince the Court of Appeal there were ‘good reasons’ for a £268,000 excess budget in Henry v News Group Newspapers.

The ruling was criticised by lawyers preparing for Jackson rules to come into force from April. The rules require parties to make a detailed costs budget in time for the case management conference.

Heath said his client’s case should not be used to avoid the new rule. ‘As with any substantive change to law or procedure, there will inevitably be a certain amount of satellite litigation where a receiving party has fallen foul of the new rules,’ he said.

‘What is clear, however, is that it will be a particularly brave litigant who would seek to gamble on the court finding "good reason" in order to incur costs outside of its approved budget.’

Heath sought to quell the concerns of Forum of Insurance Lawyers president Rod Evans, who warned the case would undermine Jackson.

He said: ‘We now have major concerns over the adherence to the new cost budgeting rules from 1 April and what sanctions will be available to apply against those who don’t adhere.’

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