Personal injury lawyers have dropped legal action against the government after a series of concessions on when fixed recoverable costs (FRC) would apply.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers last year issued a judicial review claim over the FRC extension, prompting the Ministry of Justice to consult on certain details of the reforms.

It was confirmed this week that the MoJ has agreed to a number of amendments which will come into effect next month.

The concessions include making it clear that clinical negligence claims will be subject to fixed costs in the new intermediate track only if liability is admitted, in full, in the defendant’s formal response to the letter of claim.

Costs will also be available for dealing with inquests and for restoring companies to the Companies Register.

APIL secured a further pledge from the government not to reverse current case law which allows parties to contract out of FRCs when there is a dispute in settlement agreements.

‘Issuing proceedings against the government is never something APIL, as a not-for-profit campaigning organisation, undertakes lightly,’ said APIL president Jonathan Scarsbrook. ‘But the rules as originally drafted were potentially so damaging for injured people seeking redress that we had no choice but to take action.

‘There was significant concern surrounding a lack of clarity about when FRCs might be applied to clinical negligence cases, for example. There was a real risk a solicitor would have to undertake a great deal of work on a case, only to find at a late stage that fixed costs are applied which would not cover the costs of the work undertaken.’

The government will carry out a formal consultation on the impact of the FRC extension on vulnerable parties no later than October 2026.

Scarsbrook said the amendments have improved the situation for injured people and the solicitors who support them, but this would not necessarily be the end of the matter. He added: ‘The timeframe for the consultation allows for the gathering of evidence, although we will be vigilant about this issue in the meantime, and alert to any need to intervene in an ongoing case if necessary and appropriate.’


This article is now closed for comment.