Cost News

Avi Dolties

On review of the minutes, there are more fixed costs updates in February’s CPRC minutes:

  • Clinical Negligence sub £25k proposals were not reported on in February. Reporting was delayed to 1 March. Master Cook confirmed progress was ongoing. An update therefore remains awaited.
  • New Section X for Fixed Costs Determination to be introduced. This will be distinct from assessment and include a new precedent form. The intention is that one set of rules should cover Part 8 proceedings (i.e. where a claim has not been started) and Part 23 applications (where proceedings have been started)
  • Entitlement to costs under rule 3.7A1. Amendment to rules in relation to sanction for non-payment of trial fee to make certain it protects liability for a Defendant’s fixed costs if struck out.
  • Costs of a preliminary issue. Under the current rules, in respect of rule 45.48 (fast track) and rule 45.51 (intermediate track), if a costs order is made in favour of the claimant following the preliminary issue and any part of the claim is for a monetary remedy, those costs cannot be calculated at that stage as the damages will not have been quantified, and so the relevant percentage cannot be applied. In the circumstances, rules will be changed to allow court to order payment of the fixed sum plus a payment on account of the percentage element.
  • Recoverability of VAT in addition to the FRC under rule 45.8 and the FRC and disbursements in restoration proceedings under rule 45.15A. Rules to be amended to clear any ambiguity on meaning of days for abated advocacy fees and also to make it clear VAT is recoverable in restoration proceedings subject to fixed costs. These would not be in force until October 2024.
  • Disbursements and interpreter’s fees. The rules confirmed that there would be no changes to low value protocol disbursement (portal) rules. The disbursements rules would differ between portal and fixed recoverable costs on Fast and Intermediate Tracks. The portal disbursement costs will stay as they are nor would there be any addition of interpreter fees into the wording of the portal rules either on the basis that  the committee was mindful of the risk of unintended consequences, such as inadvertently excluding other disbursement providers.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Chair noted the inevitability with reforms of this scale, that emerging issues would arise as the new regime beds in.  As such, the usual triage process can take  place and matters escalated as appropriate. However, it was resolved to review the position in 12 months’ time.