Ministry of Justice invites comments on proposals
The Ministry of Justice has published proposed levels for fixed recoverable costs that will apply to employers’ liability and public liability claims when the current road traffic accident personal injury scheme is extended next year. The scheme will also be extended by April 2013 vertically to include RTA claims up to £25,000. The Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) is currently consulting on the draft protocols which will implement the changes. In a letter to stakeholders calling for comments on the proposals, Justice Secretary Helen Grant said: “The Government is committed to reducing the fixed recoverable costs available within the extended RTA scheme.” Grant acknowledged that views on the appropriate costs model, and on the level of fixed recoverable costs (FRC), “were wide ranging and contradictory”. The minister said she had decided: For EL/PL claims worth £1k-£10k, the fixed recoverable costs for claims within the protocols would be £900 (comprising £300 for stage 1; £600 for stage 2). For EL/PL claims worth £10k-£25k, the fees would be £1,600 (comprising £300 for stage 1; £1,300 for stage 2).
- To retain a flat rate FRC structure for RTA claims, but with a dual tariff for claims up to £10k and for claims from £10-25k;
- To introduce a similar flat rate, dual tariff structure for EL and PL claims, but with different rates from RTA cases “to reflect the potentially greater complexity of these types of claims”;
- To retain the current FRC for RTA claims at Stage 3 (£250 for a paper hearing; and £500 for an oral hearing), and to apply this same rate for EL/PL claims at Stage 3.
For RTA claims worth £1k-£10k, the fixed recoverable costs for claims within the protocols would be £500 (comprising £200 for stage 1; £300 for stage 2). This is down from the current level of £1,200. For RTA claims worth £10k-£25k, the fees would be £800 (comprising £200 for stage 1; £600 for stage 2). The minister said that with regard to the fixed recoverable costs applicable to RTA, EL and PL claims which exit the protocol process, she had “decided to introduce a matrix of fixed recoverable costs based on Jackson’s Table B but amended both to take account of inflation since the table was first produced (in 2009), and reduced throughout by an amount intended to reflect the forthcoming ban on referral fees”. A copy of the letter, including the table, can be viewed here. Grant said the proposed FRC would be reviewed in light of further evidence received from stakeholders. She also said the rates which are implemented in April 2013 would be subject to review after a year.