The Ministry of Justice is preparing to extend fixed recoverable costs for a wide range of civil cases.
Today’s Transforming our Justice System consultation paper, published by lord chancellor Liz Truss, includes a section dedicated to civil justice which states that the recoverable costs regime will be extended.
These measures will build on the system already in place to limit recoverable costs for personal injury claims and will extend fixed costs to ‘as many civil cases as possible’.
The consultation says: ‘These measures provide transparency and certainty for all parties and are designed to ensure that the amount of legal work done is proportionate to the value of the claim.’
The plans appear to be in line with calls from Lord Justice Jackson (pictured) earlier this year for an extension of fixed recoverable costs to all civil cases valued up to £250,000.
In a joint statement, lord chancellor Truss, lord chief justice Lord Thomas and senior present of tribunals Lord Justice Ryder say they will look at options to extend fixed recoverable costs 'much more widely' so the costs of going to court will be 'clearer and more appropriate'
They add: 'Our aim is that losing parties should not be hit with disproportionately high legal costs, and people will be able to make more informed decisions on whether to take or defend legal action.'
The government has also confirmed it will establish a new online process for resolving claims.
Building on the recommendations of Lord Justice Briggs, the MoJ says it will create a new process to resolve many disputes entirely online, using new technology and specialist case officers to progress 'routine cases' through the system and reserving judicial time for the most complex cases.
The MoJ said: 'When hearings are required, they may be held over the telephone or video conference, focusing court resources on the most complex and difficult cases. This will mean that cases should reach a quick resolution.'
Introducing the consultation, which closes on 27 October, justice minister Oliver Heald QC said the plans ensure legal costs are 'appropriate to the nature and value of the dispute at issue'.