On 6 September 2021, the government published its response to the 2019 consultation paper, Extending Fixed Recoverable Costs in Civil Cases: Implementing Sir Rupert Jackson’s Proposals (considered here). The response notes that it has been delayed principally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the name suggests, a fixed recoverable costs (FRC) regime fixes the amount the successful party can recover in legal costs at different stages of the litigation, from pre-issue up to trial. The aim is to ensure that legal costs remain certain and proportionate, and thereby promote access to justice.
The government’s response confirms its intention to introduce FRC for claims up to £100,000. More specifically, this includes:
- extending FRC to all fast track cases (of up to £25,000 in damages) in the county court; and
- introducing FRC for less complex claims between £25,000 and £100,000, referred to as “intermediate” cases, which would be assigned to an extended fast track (subject to exceptions for eg mesothelioma/asbestos, clinical negligence and intellectual property).
FRC will be subject to an uplift of 35% where a party fails to beat an opponent’s Part 36 offer or 50% where a party has behaved unreasonably. There will be a 25% uplift for each additional claimant in claims arising from the same set of facts, and a London weighting of 12.5%.
In order to implement these proposals, the government will submit draft rules to be considered by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee.