Jackson Update: Portal Details Released


28 February, 2013

Yesterday the Ministry of Justice published its consultation response on the "Extension of the Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme: proposals on fixed recoverable costs", 4 weeks prior to the anticipated commencement of the Jackson reforms.

Justice Minister, Chris Grayling set out the following details relating to Fixed Recoverable Costs (FRCs) and the portal system:

  • A full evaluation of the existing scheme is not required to inform a decision about extending the Scheme to £25,000.
  • Revised fixed recoverable costs in respect of the existing scheme (RTA up to £10,000) should commence from the end of April.
  • Fixed recoverable costs for RTA claims up to £10,000 will be cut to £500. The current fixed costs for a claim that settles at stage 2 of the existing RTA protocol are £1,200. It is not known how many cases will be affected by this reduction, however assuming the 2011/2012 volume of protocol settlements (around 3000 cases) the aggregate saving to defendants would be around £200 million (this relates purely to FRC costs)
  • New protocols extending the portal scheme to claims up to £25,000 and to EL/PL claims, and the accompanying FRC regimes will be implemented from the end of July.

There were some minor concessions:

  • For cases in the £10,001 to £25,000 bracket the cost of counsel's or specialist solicitors advice on quantum, in exceptional circumstances where it is justified will be recoverable as a disbursement.
  • Employers' liability disease cases will fall out of the EL protocol, and the existing costs regime will apply.

The above changes are in addition to the law changes already commencing on the 1st April 2013 where Claimants will no longer be able to recover a success fee from the losing party, the banning of referral fees, Qualified One way Costs Shifting where the losing Claimant will not need to pay the Defendant's costs (subject to exceptions) and finally the non recoverability of the cost of After The Event Insurance. These changes apply to funding arrangements entered into after the 1st April 2013 by the Claimant.

Chris Grayling comments that the difference in timing is due to the additional complexity involved for both insurers and claimant lawyers in implementing the extended scheme. Furthermore, the government have declined to agree to a formal review fixed in 12 months time but have confirmed that he would be prepared to review and assess the effectiveness of the scheme should evidence be provided to demonstrate that this was necessary.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Motor Accident Solicitors Society's legal challenge of the reforms is due to be heard on Friday by the High Court. We will provide an update in due course.

For further information/details/training on the changes please contact Ridwaan Omar at our Blackburn office on 01254 662831; Siobhan Hardy at our Leeds office on 0113 244 6688 or Andrew Ellis at our Manchester office on 0161 918 0000


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