Fixed recoverable costs (FRC) in England & Wales set to be extended from October 2022

The recently-published minutes of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee’s November meeting confirm that the Ministry of Justice’s “intention is to implement the extension of FRC in October 2022 and the MoJ is keen to work in collaboration with the CPRC to ensure the smooth delivery of these reforms.”

The minutes also include some jargon to describe the aims of what the MoJ & CPRC will need to do here, that being to “define the scope and parameters of FRC (and the associated changes), while outlining the new procedures that will ensure cases are appropriately allocated and managed within the new FRC architecture.” What that probably means is that there is could be a wholesale re-write of the existing FRC rules – which must be the correct and necessary approach – and some possibly some changes to rules on disbursements and on QOCS in the new extended FRC regime.

Please refer back to our feature from early in September for a summary of what will be entailed in extending FRCs as planned by the Ministry.

Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs

Disease claims to become subject to fixed recoverable costs – summary and initial view

Earlier in the week the Ministry of Justice re-affirmed its intention to extend fixed recoverable costs (FRC) to all fast track civil clams claims and, albeit on a different basis, higher value claims below a proposed £100,000 threshold (so-called ‘intermediate value’ cases). Alongside costs budgeting in multitrack cases, a regime of fixed recoverable costs is seen bringing control and predictability to litigation expenses.

Extending FRCs in this way will mean that the majority of disease claims will be captured by FRCs for the first time. When fast track FRCs were introduced in 2013 for ‘portal’ claims, only EL disease (ELD) claims against a single defendant were caught. [It is worth recalling that the portal was conceived for straightforward single claimant vs single defendant claims and for that reason alone it is ill-suited to disease work.]

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Civil justice and the new government

By any measure the outcome of yesterday’s election was a significant point in the UK’s politics. The returning of the Conservative government with a chunky majority means, first and foremost, that the UK will leave the EU in a little over six weeks, on 31 January 2020. In advance of a new Queen’s Speech, likely to be next week, are there already indications of what policies to expect from the new administration in the area of civil justice?

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