Following publication by the Ministry of Justice of its consultation response on fixed recoverable costs, the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) chair Claire Green says: “The question of fixed costs ultimately comes down to the figures. Do they provide genuine access to justice and allow a party to conduct litigation effectively, or do they only work for the privileged few who can afford to pay for litigation irrespective of what they recover from an opponent.
“The proposed figures for the fixed costs adopted by the Ministry of Justice were based on just one law firm’s sample of cases, where it acted for the defendants. The government needs a much more rigorous statistical base if it is to widen the use of fixed costs, and also needs to commit to regularly reviewing and updating them. Aside from uprating them to start with, this is absent from the response, and indeed history shows that it does not happen, to the detriment of clients, their lawyers and access to justice.”