Legal costs developments


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The Court of Appeal decision in Sousa v London Borough of Waltham Forest [2011] EWCA Civ 194 may be (but probably won’t be) the final word on what the law currently is in relation to recoverability of success fees.

However, the Court went out of its way to give further support to the Jackson costs reforms with Ward LJ saying: “Let Lord Justice Jackson’s reforms be enacted sooner rather than later”. Although some in the claimant lobby may have been buoyed by some of the recent “independent” reports casting doubt on the Jackson proposals, it must be remembered that there is powerful backing for his reforms and this in not limited to those in the insurance camp.

Other interesting developments come from rumours that are circulating and were reported by Dominic Regan writing in New Law Journal. The small claims limit of £5,000 in non-injury claims in apparently under review, as is a proposal to increase the fast track limit to £50,000. Other news concerns Lord Young’s proposal to extend the new claims process to non-RTA claims by April 2012. Apparently the Portal committee was of the view that this extension could not be implemented that soon.

Fortunately none of this uncertainly will impact on anyone’s business planning.


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