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Pilot scheme to cap costs at £80k

Civil claims costs have always been scrutinised and measured on the proportionality principle and now there is a proposed scheme of levelling fixed costs for civil claims. Lord Justice Jackson is finalising his report on the capping of fixed recoverable costs for claims up to the value of £250k and has proposed a trial period for assessing the scheme. The trial period was to have started in May but had been delayed due to the election and now is due to start at any time.

Proposals for the capped stages

Costs would be capped at £10k for pre-action work, £7k for particulars of claim and £7k for defence and counterclaim.
Parties can claim up to £6k for a reply and defence to counterclaims
Case management conference will be capped at £6k
Disclosure will be capped at £6k
Witness statements will be capped at £8k
Expert reports will be capped at £10k
Trial and judgement costs limited to £20k
Overall cap of the pilot scheme trial period is set at £80k

 

Where will the pilot scheme take place?

Certain specialist courts have been selected. London Mercantile Court, three courts each in Manchester District Registry and Leeds District Registry and any cases where the trial will go beyond two days or where the value is more than £250k are excluded.The pilot scheme will be monitored by academics and will be open to new cases for two years.

The pilot committee all agree that there should be a streamlined court procedure, based around the Shorter Trial Scheme. Proposed amendments to court procedure would include a list of issues being reviewed at the claims management conference, including disclosure, limits on fact and expert evidence and trial dates would be fixed within eight months of the CMC.

The scheme is voluntary and both parties in litigation need to agree to participate.

Proposals for pilot scheme pre-action process

Response to letter of claim within 14 days
Particulars of claim and defences with counterclaims must not exceed 20 pages
Other statements of case must not go beyond 15 pages
Costs budgeting will not apply to cases in the capped costs list with the court instead making a summary assessment of costs

There will no doubt be further news on the proposed costs changes on the litigation landscape as the scheme may be extended to other courts.