The High Court has acceded to Lord Justice Jackson’s request for a temporary break in costs budgeting for clinical negligence cases.
Jackson (pictured) called in May for a one-off release of case management rules for all London clinical negligence cases with hearings listed for between October 2015 and January 2016.
The architect of the civil procedure rules said the nine-month waiting time for a first case management conference was ‘unacceptable’ and risked undermining his reforms.
The Judicial Office today confirmed it has agreed to Jackson’s request and will impose a break.
A spokesman said: ‘The court has a standing discretion to disapply the costs budgeting/management provisions in individual cases.
‘As a temporary measure, to clear a backlog of cases, the Queen’s Bench Masters responsible for the case management of clinical negligence cases are exercising this discretion in relation to cases listed before them between October 2015 and January 2016. This approach will be kept under review.’
The decision will be welcomed by lawyers who have had to grapple with the new regime at a time when clinical negligence cases have increased.
Jackson noted in May that in 2014 there were 1,486 new clinical negligence actions in London, compared with 800 in 2009.
The judge said that he had been advised that the courts could clear the backlog by the end of September if case management rules were temporarily relaxed.