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The Gazette (click link) reports that the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has walked out of talks on extending fixed costs in personal injury cases. This mediation was put together at the request of Lord Justice Jackson as part of his Costs Review. It seems inevitable that his final report will include a recommendation that fixed fees are introduced for all stages of the fast-track in personal injury claims and this mediation was intended to lead to an agreement as to the appropriate figures.
It is somewhat hard to interpret this new development. It may simply be initial posturing on the part of APIL. It is no secret that APIL opposes the extension of fixed fees; they said as much in their response to the Jackson Preliminary Report. If they simply wished to scupper the mediation, it would have made more sense to continue to play along and undermine the process from within. Without APIL’s involvement what will happen? It seems very unlikely that Jackson LJ will abandon this central part of his reform program simply because one interest group does not want to cooperate. On the other hand, will any figures now produced lack credibility? APIL runs the risk that the process will move forward regardless but they will lose the opportunity to influence the final figures.
Watch this space.