Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Will Civil Justice ever be the same again?

  • Good bye success fee recoverability, will now be paid for by Claimants. 
  • Hello contingency fees with an increase of 10% in general damages to fund them.
  • Good bye PI Claimants having to pay a successful defendant's costs and therefore good bye to ATE insurance and premiums.

  • Hello to an increase in the costs which can be recovered by Litigants in Person [long overdue!]
  • Good bye (probably) to the £5,000 small claim limit - which dramatically could be increased to £15,000? So very limited costs recovery in all cases up to £15,000 (so no recoverable expert evidence costs in those cases? Will not apply to PI and housing disrepair) [Bit uneasy about this - £15,000 seems a bit high for informal justice in the hands of a deputy district judge in a busy back to back list]
  • Hello to a new High Court lower limit of £100,000 [High Court is already short of work - but then it seems that High Court judges are going to sit in the county court to take up the slack? See below]
  • Hello to a new Chancery county court upper limit of £350,000 [This is very very long overdue - there is a comedy limit of £30,000 at present]
  • Good bye to the local county court -  a national county court, merged with Tribunals?  [Shame, but understandable]
  • Hello to more High Court Judges sitting in the County Court.[Presumably because the new limit will mean even less work for them? See above]
  • Hello to more enforced mediation [bad idea - see here]
  • Good bye to face to face small claims hearings - more paper and telephone hearings [I shudder at this, too Continental for my tastes]

1 comment:

  1. Someone somewhere needs to wake up. Taxpayers do not pay HIGH COURT judges to sit in County Court. The High Court is busy enough as it is and we do not wish to have to appoint more High Court judges.

    Also, the various financial limits are always awkward and can bear little correlation to the complexity of the legal issues involved. Consider case like COSAT v ENEL and the issue over whether the Upper Tribunal can be judicially reviewed. These case are, in financial terms, about peanuts but they raise serious legal questions.