Insights

The Jackson Report: Costs of Civil Litigation in England and Wales

Major reforms of the English civil procedure rules may be in store following the recent publication of the Jackson report on the costs of civil litigation in England and Wales.  Lord Justice Sir Rupert Jackson, a Court of Appeal judge, was tasked in November 2008 to review  the rules and principles governing the costs of civil litigation and to make recommendations to promote access to justice at proportionate cost.

 

The resulting report, published on 14 January 2010, is more than 500 pages long and proposes widespread changes.  Some would have a significant impact on commercial litigation, in particular the proposed abolition of costs shifting in certain cases and the proposed introduction of contingency fee arrangements (which have previously been prohibited).

 

The key proposals are summarised below (with hyperlinks to more detailed discussions).

 

Recommendations Regarding Costs

 

 

Recommendations Regarding Case Management by the Courts

 

  • Large commercial claims: docketing (assigning cases to a named judge) to be encouraged.
  • Disclosure: a "menu option" to replace standard disclosure in certain cases, the approval of the draft practice direction on electronically stored information and further training for judges and lawyers on how to conduct e-disclosure more efficiently.
  • More rigorous and effective use by courts of case management powers, with less tolerance for unjustified delays and breaches of orders.
  • Ambit and costs of witness evidence to be contained, with costs sanctions to prevent irrelevant evidence being adduced and the provision of witness summaries at an early stage, which should identify which pleaded points each witness will cover (not dissimilar to the German civil procedure principle of "Relationsmethode").
  • The use of expert evidence to be more rigorously controlled, including a requirement for prior consideration of the likely costs of any expert evidence and the possibility of concurrent evidence (multiple expert witnesses giving evidence together).

 

Other Recommendations

 

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