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Dispute Resolution analysis: Following Lord Jackson’s review of civil legal costs, new measures were brought into force on 1 April 2013. On the first anniversary of the reforms, Brent McDonald at Old Square Chambers and Ali Tabari at St Philips Chambers, explain how litigation has changed under the Jackson regime.
What has life been like in court following Jackson?
Ali Tabari (AT): The preparation for cases has changed, as it is a lot more details-focused, especially with regard to case management conferences (CMCs).
From the Bar’s perspective:
• we have become a lot more involved in costs management
• there has been more consultation on Part 36 offers
• there have of course been innumerable ancillary applications in which we have been instructed to draft and appear at court
There is certainly an advantage to having delivered training on Jackson before its implementation because it is abundantly clear who is and who is not clued up on the changes. In court, things are largely as before, except that judges have become somewhat less forgiving of default than they previously may have been.
Brent McDonald (BM): It has been more combative, both with judges and opponents. There is far less incentive for parties to agree variations in the timetable or to overlook mistakes following Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWCA Civ 1537,  All ER (D) 314 (Nov). Whereas in the past you could expect the other side not to take silly points as long as there was no real prejudice, lawyers are now on the lookout for any default on which to base an application for sanctions. Judges have also become less trusting of the parties. They are more willing to refuse permission to rely on the experts needed to value the case, now that it is no longer enough to show it is ‘reasonable’ and ‘necessary’ to take a step under the Jackson reforms.
Personally I enjoy stormy hearings and much prefer a court-based practice over a
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