Change Is in the Air after Jackson Report; James Gordon, Partner in Wragge & Co LLP's Dispute Resolution Group Looks at Lord Justice Jackson's Final Report on Civil Litigation Costs

Article excerpt

Byline: James Gordon

Anyone involved in civil litigation needs to be aware of Lord Justice Jackson's recent report on civil litigation costs. If implemented, the proposals could result in widespread reform in the way litigation is paid for. The report affects almost every area of civil litigation, particularly personal injury matters as well as high-value commercial litigation.

Recommendations made in the report that will affect commercial claims include: Lawyers should be able to enter into contingency fee agreements (where the lawyer is paid out of the settlement sum or damages awarded, usually as a percentage of that amount) with clients. Safeguards will be built in to such agreements, if implemented.

Ending the recoverability from the losing party of success fees payable under conditional fee agreements (CFAs - no win no fee) and after the event insurance (ATE) premiums paid to insurers to cover adverse costs of litigation. It will still be possible to enter into CFAs and ATE insurance but any success fee/premium will be borne by the client - thus reducing their overall recovery.

A campaign to ensure greater awareness of the benefits of alternative dispute resolution (for example mediation). There to be a "menu" of options available for disclosing documents in large commercial claims where the cost of disclosing documents is likely to be disproportionate.

Greater case management measures and costs sanctions to control the content or length of witness statements and expert evidence. This will also include allocating cases to judges with relevant expertise and having the same judge deal with the case throughout. …