Veteran of the costs war – and fan of multi-track fixed costs – appointed Master of the Rolls

Dyson: personal response to Jackson proposals

Fixed costs on the multi-track could move a step closer to reality after Lord Dyson was yesterday confirmed as the new Master of the Rolls in succession to Lord Neuberger, who has taken over as president of the Supreme Court.

The judge has considerable experience of costs issues and was deputy head of civil justice between 2003 and 2006, during which time he attended Civil Justice Council costs events. He will now chair the council.

He has also sat on several key cases of the costs war during his time in the Court of Appeal, including Arkin, Tankard, Myatt, Garrett and Gloucestershire CC, as well as handing down the Halsey decision on the costs consequences of refusing to mediate.

Lord Justice Dyson, as he then was, submitted a personal response to Lord Justice Jackson’s initial report in which supported the introduction of fixed costs or scale costs for multi-track claims up to at least £100,000. However, Lord Justice Jackson concluded that “it would be premature to embark upon any scheme of fixed costs or scale costs in respect of lower-value multi-track cases for the time being”.

Lord Dyson said yesterday: “I am delighted and honoured to hear that I have been appointed as the Master of the Rolls. I am looking forward greatly to working in the Court of Appeal again.”

Lord Dyson was called to the Middle Temple in 1968 and took silk in 1982. He was appointed as a recorder in 1986, appointed to the Queen’s Bench Division in 1993 and was presiding judge of the Technology and Construction Court from 1998 to 2001. Lord Dyson was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2001 and coincidentally joined the Supreme Court in 2010 to replace Lord Neuberger after he became Master of the Rolls.

Lord Dyson’s appointment was made by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor following the recommendation of an independent selection panel chaired by Lord Phillips. The other panel members were: the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Christopher Stephens, chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission, and Dame Valarie Strachan, a judicial appointments commissioner.

Applications were invited from all heads of division, justices of the Supreme Court and members of the Court of Appeal.