Jackson to dominate CJC work over next year, with QOCS advice imminent

Napier: contingency fee working party to report by end of July

Implementation of the Jackson reforms is set to dominate the work of the Civil Justice Council (CJC) in the coming year, its newly published 2012/13 business plan has shown.

Top of the agenda at the moment is the advice being given to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on the operation of qualified one-way costs-shifting, with an announcement from the MoJ – along with publication of the report of the CJC working party, chaired by Berrymans Lace Mawer partner Alistair Kinley – due either this week or next, Litigation Futures understands.

The contingency fees working party chaired by Michael Napier, which is looking at issues of principle and practice to underpin the introduction of damages-based agreements, is due to report by the end of July.

The CJC’s other two Jackson-related pieces of work are a review, chaired by HHJ Graham Jones, of the raft of pre-action protocols, with a view to making recommendations for reform that promote consistency of approach in the protocols; and work on publishing an ADR Handbook, the aim of which is “to ensure better and more consistent ADR services and to improve client application of the value and nature of ADR services”.

The CJC’s other work includes a review, chaired by District Judge Margaret Langley, of whether senior Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives should be entitled to claim automatically the same hourly rates as solicitors with comparable post-qualification experience. This will then go to the Master of the Rolls, who is also awaiting a report from the MoJ’s advisory committee on civil costs about whether the guideline hourly rates need changing.

The other projects on the CJC’s agenda are: a review of the protocol on expert evidence; its working party on access to justice for self-represented litigants (the new name for litigants in person) pursuing those recommendations from its report on the issue which do not require legislative change; and a study of the present state of ADR education at university level and in vocational training courses.