The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is likely to complete a review of LASPO’s civil costs reforms by next summer, but has said it does not expect to find much that needs to change – except possibly removing the exception that currently applies to mesothelioma claims.
Yesterday it published a post-legislative memorandum for the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, detailing what has happened since it came into force, and Lord Chancellor David Lidington announced the long-awaited post-implementation review of part 1 of the Act, which deals with legal aid.
But he said his predecessors had committed also to a post-implementation review of the civil litigation funding and costs reforms in part 2, largely implementing the Jackson report.
“We are considering how to carry out that review, but we hope to conclude it to the same timetable,” he said.
The part 1 review is due to conclude by Parliament’s 2018 summer recess, the date of which has not yet been confirmed.
The memorandum noted that, in December 2015, the government stated that the part 2 review would take place towards the end of the period from April 2016 to April 2018.
“There has not been any body of opinion calling for an early review, or for the amendment of the statutory provisions in part 2. That may be because the provisions are seen to be working reasonably effectively, or because it is still too early to tell their full impact given the length of civil litigation.”
It concluded in a more bullish fashion: “Whilst there has inevitably been comment on points of detail, we are not aware of significant overarching concerns arising from the implementation of part 2.
“Writing in 2016, Lord Faulks QC (justice minister 2014-16) said: ‘A post-implementation review of part 2 is due to take place in April 2018. I would not, of course, wish to pre-empt the findings of any review, but I would be surprised if the principles of Sir Rupert’s recommendations were found to be unsound.”
The memorandum said the review would encompass section 48 of LASPO, which provides that the recoverability reforms do not apply to mesothelioma claims until a review of the likely impact of the reforms on these cases has been carried out and a report published on the findings.
The MoJ tried to do this in 2013, but its decision to implement the reforms was successfully challenged, with the High Court ruling in October 2014 that the government’s review had not complied with section 48.
The memorandum said the section 48 review would form part of the post-implementation review.