Jackson reforms one year on—a view from the Bar

Jackson reforms one year on—a view from the Bar

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, the Remuneration Committee of the Bar Council explains how litigation has changed under the Jackson regime.

What has life been like in court following Jackson?
The most significant impact to date arises out of the decision of Mitchell v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1537, [2013] All ER (D) 314 (Nov). Anecdotal evidence suggests the courts are grappling with a heavy increase in applications for relief from sanctions which, but for Mitchell, would not have been required pre-Jackson. Solicitors are facing dilemmas of their own, not only when they themselves miss a deadline by just a few days (or even a few hours), but also as to whether to oppose applications for relief brought by the other party to the proceedings. There is a concern that if applications for relief are not opposed then solicitors may be criticised by their own clients in taking advantage of Mitchell and the opponent’s default.

Conflicting approaches at first instance leads to uncertainty and fuels what is bound to be a turbulent period whilst the shock wave of the Court of Appeal’s judgment ripples across the litigation scene. While it may feel more like a tsunami than a ‘ripple’, the likelihood is that over the next year or two, the wave will have petered out. Mitchell brings with it a new and required discipline to the litigation scene which it might be said is long overdue. The test of ‘triviality’ and ‘good reason’ provide the platform for the new approach and while these criteria are unlikely in themselves to be considered controversial, their application may. It is vital the courts maintain consistency in approach.

The new b

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About the author:
Kathy specialises in restructuring and cross-border insolvency. She qualified as a solicitor in 1995 and has since worked for Weil Gotshal & Manges and Freshfields. Kathy has worked on some of the largest restructuring cases in the last decade, including Worldcom, Parmalat, Enron and Eurotunnel.