Lord Justice Jackson's key findings and recommendations
Lord Justice Jackson has published the final report on his year-long, comprehensive review of civil litigation costs.
The final report (see: Jackson Review: Final Report) covers 45 subject areas and runs to 557 pages, with recommendations across the whole spectrum of civil litigation.
The key findings and recommendations include:
- Proportionality – the costs system should be based on legal expenses that reflect the nature/complexity of the case (Chpt 3);
- Success fees and after the event insurance premiums to be irrecoverable in no win, no fee cases (CFAs – Conditional Fee Agreements), as these are the greatest contributors to disproportionate costs (Chpts 9 &10);
- To offset the effects of this for claimants, general damages awards for personal injuries and other civil wrongs should be increased by 10% (Chpt 10);
- Referral fees should be scrapped - these are fees paid by lawyers to organisations that ‘sell’ damages claims but offer no real value to the process (Chpt 20);
- Qualified ‘one way costs shifting’ – claimants will only make a small contribution defendant costs if a claim is unsuccessful (as long as they have behaved reasonably), removing the need for after the event insurance (Chpts 9 & 19);
- Fixed costs to be set for ‘fast track’ cases (those with a claim up to £25,000) to provide certainty of legal costs (Chpt 16);
- Establishing a Costs Council to review fixed costs and lawyers’ hourly rates annually, to ensure that they are fair to both lawyers and clients (Chpt 6);
- Allowing lawyers to enter into Contingency Fee Agreements, where lawyers are only paid if a claim is successful, normally receiving a percentage of actual damages won (Chpt 12); and
- Promotion of ‘before the event’ legal insurance, encouraging people to take out legal expenses insurance e.g. as part of household insurance (Chpt 8).
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, welcomed the report: “The judiciary has been concerned for some time that the costs of civil litigation are disproportionate and excessive.
"Lord Justice Jackson’s fundamental review addresses these questions head on. I am extremely grateful to him for the enormous work and effort that he has brought to bear on this important, complex issue and for proposals which for the first time address the issue of costs as a comprehensive, coherent whole.
"I look forward to the senior judiciary working with the Ministry of Justice to implement Sir Rupert’s coherent package of interlocking reforms, designed to reduce litigation costs and enhance access to justice in the courts.”
Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: ‘I would like to thank Sir Rupert for undertaking this review of costs in the civil courts and for producing such a substantial, comprehensive and detailed report. It is a remarkable piece of work which is based on extensive consultation and puts forward a broad range of significant recommendations for reform. I look forward to considering these proposals in detail."
The Ministry of Justice said will look at the recommendations in depth and will set out the way forward in due course.
Dowload the full report: Jackson Review: Final Report