Archive for February, 2013

All change, please?

February has seen the long awaited consultation from the Law Commission on rights to light.  The consultation remains open until 16 May and we will discuss further next month.

This month has seen too the anticipated civil justice reforms and the new civil procedure rules (CPR) which will come into force on 1 April 2013 – no laughing matter!  The prime aim is to remove unnecessary costs.  Whilst most of the reforms will have greatest impact in personal injury cases and road traffic accidents, anyone involved or advising in court proceedings should be aware of the issues.

Whilst conditional fee arrangements (CFAs) and after the event (ATE) insurance can still be used, the recovery of success fees and ATE premiums from the losing side is abolsihed (although there is a very limited exception in relation to clinical negligence cases).  Damages based agreements (DBAs) are to be allowed in all areas of civil litigation but there will be various caps on damages.

There is to be a new rule too on proportionality.  The test is intended to control the costs that are disproportionate to the value, complexity and importance of the claim.

Perhaps the greatest impact in relation to property cases might be felt under Part 36 of the CPR (offers to settle).  There is to be an additional amount to be paid (i.e. in addition to the existing automatic costs orders) by a defendant who does not accept a claimant’s offer to settle if the court gives judgment for the claimant that is at least as advantageous as an offer the claimant made to settle the claim.  This additional amount is to be calculated at 10% of damages with a maximum sanction of £75,000 – a hefty sum.

The new rules and useful summaries are available through the Ministry of Justice website.  Hatherleigh Training would also be pleased to assist if able.