The judge responsible for implementing the Jackson reforms has spoken of his hope that third-party funding will become more prevalent in financing cases.
Mr Justice Ramsey told the Association of Costs Lawyers annual conference the future of third-party litigation funding was one of the ‘great questions’ of the post-Jackson era.
The success fee structure was reformed and legal aid cut for most civil cases on 1 April, leaving speculation about how cases will be funded in future.
Ramsey said there should be more certainty in the market in the next three years which will give investors confidence to take on funding more cases than at present.
‘Funders should be able to make a decent profit and in effect transfer legal aid from the public sector to the private sector,’ he said.
Ramsey said the future was not necessarily bleak for costs lawyers, despite costs budgeting meaning there may be fewer standard costs assessments.
‘Instead the expertise of costs lawyers will apply to the beginning of litigation,’ he said.
Ramsey also suggested that the decision to exempt commercial cases worth more than £2m from new costs management rules could eventually be overturned as judges look at them on a case-by-case basis.
Later in the conference, Legal Services Board chief executive Chris Kenny predicted that costs lawyers would be ‘busier but differently busy’ in the coming years.
Kenny added: ‘The Jackson reforms will mean less costs litigation, but costs budgeting gives clients greater and certainty and it seems that [costs lawyers] genuinely have a USP in the way that many other parts of the profession don’t.’