Part 46 of Civil Procedure Rules: Fast Track Trial Costs
Response by Thompsons Solicitors - May 2017
Thompsons is the UK's most experienced trade union and personal injury law firm. It has a network of offices across the UK, including the separate legal jurisdictions of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Thompsons only acts for trade union members and the victims of injury, never for employers or insurance companies. At any one time the firm will be running 70,000 claims.
The firm participates regularly in government consultations on legislative issues.
Do you agree that the fast track trial costs should be increased in line with inflation? If not please set out your reasons why.
Thompsons agrees with the proposal that fast track trial costs should be increased in line with inflation. We agree with the Bar Council’s concerns that the failure to increase costs for a number of years has resulted in many advocates being underpaid for their work. But more importantly, it means that it is far more difficult for claimants to find suitable counsel to represent them in fast track cases. This is not a level playing field as personal injury Claimants are dependant on recoverable costs and so cannot top up the shortfall due to the inadequacy of fixed fees. Defendants, on the other hand, are supported by the vast resources of the insurance industry and so are not limited in the counsel they instruct by the level of the fixed fees.
We therefore welcome these long awaited proposals and consultation.
If you agree, should the costs increase in line with the Retail Prices Index? If not please set out your reasons why and indicate whether you prefer the Private Sector Average Earnings index or another index.
Thompsons does not agree that the costs should increase in line with the RPI. The RPI is the wrong index because fast track trial costs are primarily the labour costs of a service industry. The correct index is therefore the Average Earnings Index.
Whichever index is used, there should in future be automatic uprating annually on that basis, whilst still retaining the option of periodic reviews to preserve flexibility.
Do you agree that the new rules apply to all trials that take place on or after the date of implementation? If not please set out your reasons why and state what you consider the appropriate transitional arrangements should be.
Thompsons agrees that the new rules should apply to all trials from the date of implementation.