The Government has been releasing further details as to how the Jackson forms are to be implemented.
In relation to the 25% cap on success fees in personal injury cases, excluding damages for future care and loss, this 25% includes solicitors’ success fee, any barristers’ success fee and VAT. Imagine trying to split that particular pie between the solicitor, junior counsel and senior counsel (not to mention what would happen where there is a change in the firm of solicitors acting or a change in counsel).
The lawyer will be required to provide clear information to the claimant on how the success fee has been calculated including showing the breakdown between solicitor and barrister (if appropriate), and the type of damages that the cap applies to (excluding future care and loss). This will be a new requirement for both CFAs and damages-based agreements (DBAs). That should be fun where settlement is reached on a global basis.
In relation to damages-based agreements (DBAs), it has been announced that in addition to the 25% cap on the amount of damages, excluding damages for future care and loss, in personal injury cases that we already knew about, and the existing 35% cap on damages in employment tribunal cases, there will also be a cap of 50% on damages for all other cases under a DBA in civil litigation.
It has been confirmed there will be a new rule on proportionality; the test is intended to control the costs of activity that is clearly disproportionate to the value, complexity and importance of the claim. This will come into effect on 1 April 2013. Of course, it won’t be until at least 12 months after that date that we will have the faintest idea as to how this test will work in practice. 12 months of absolute pandemonium in the costs world with probably not a single case capable of settlement.
The extension of the RTA portal upwards to £25,000 and outwards to cover EL and PL cases appears to still be firmly on the agenda, although the rumours circulating on this issue seem to change by the day.
The Government is still considering whether to increase the small claims limit for personal injury cases from £1k to £5k.