The senior judiciary is making progress towards introducing a £250,000 threshold for cases that are eligible to be heard in the High Court, Professor Dominic Regan has claimed.
However, there are contradictory views on the enthusiasm of the Ministry of Justice for Lord Justice Jackson’s proposed extension of fixed recoverable costs.
Last year’s Briggs report recommended the threshold rise from £100,000 and speaking at the recent Costs Law Reports conference in London, Professor Regan said he had it on good authority that this was in the offing.
Professor Regan added that though currently the High Court threshold for personal injury cases was at the lower level of £50,000, there would be no such differentiation under the higher limit.
He also said the Ministry of Justice was “mad keen” for Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals, but speaking later in the day, the Senior Costs Judge suggested that its ardour had cooled.
Chief Master Andrew Gordon-Saker said that, before the election, “there was a real appetite for this but now there doesn’t appear to be so much of one – the government seems to have other things on its plate”.
He thought, however, that the Department of Health was “unlikely” to ignore Jackson LJ’s recommendation for the Civil Justice Council oversee the process of introducing fixed costs in clinical negligence cases – rather than continue with its long-running consultation process.
But he predicted that the government would be “the least enthusiastic” about fixed costs for judicial review.
“Lord Justice Jackson suggested an extension of the Aarhus rules [for environmental judicial review cases] to all judicial review cases. I would be willing to take a sizeable, though proportionate, wager [that] the government has no interest at all in limiting the costs recoverable from unsuccessful JR claimants.”