QB Master: Costs budgeting is starting to work
Posted on March 3, 2016
Costs budgeting is starting to work in clinical negligence, a Queen’s Bench Master has declared as he expressed his doubts about the expansion of fixed fees.
Master Cook also said claims of more than £50,000 that could not be classified as lower value and before extending fixed costs beyond that figure, “the current costs regime should be reviewed and its effects should be subject to proper scrutiny and research”.
He added: “The inevitable conclusion to be drawn is that there is now a very strong momentum, perhaps an irresistible momentum, towards the introduction of fixed costs in civil claims. But, in my view, change should not be driven on the basis of out of date statistics and the short-term financial interest of the NHS.”
This was a very well reasoned speech by an experienced High Court Master. The Government needs to stop and think (and properly consult) on the proposed extension of fixed costs. Access to justice and economic impact issues must be properly thought through, to avoid the usual laws of unintended consequences, as well as the raft of inevitable satellite litigation. Also, with the Jackson reforms less than three years old, the legal profession could do without the constantly shifting sands, in order to properly review and implement their business models.