Costs Lawyer magazine recently published the predictions for 2016 of the great and the good in the profession. They also asked me. This was my contribution, written before Lord Justice Jackson’s latest speech:
“When I was asked this question last year, my prediction was that 2015 would be the year guidance would be given by the Court of Appeal on the new proportionality test. However, at the time of writing, we still have nothing from the High Court or above as to how proportionality is to be applied as part of the detailed assessment process. I was clearly wrong in my timings and can only hope we have something in 2016. I also repeat my previous prediction that what will ultimately emerge will be a fiasco and nothing close to what Lord Justice Jackson envisaged.
I also predicted that there would be calls for a massive extension of fixed fees as a consequence of the mess being made of Jackson implementation. Such calls have indeed been made (with proposals for fixed fees in clinical negligence cases and noise induced hearing loss cases amongst other things). Expect much more of the same in 2016.
This will be the year where the judiciary finally properly grasps the fundamentals of costs budgeting with sensible and consistent decisions being made at all levels. Resistance to costs budgeting will be overcome and all legal practitioners will acknowledge budgeting to be a useful tool to control disproportionate costs. Possibly…”