With less than 3 weeks to go before a major expansion of the portal for civil litigation and the introduction of fast-track fixed costs, the MoJ has yet to publish the rules in finalised form. In a speech last Friday Law Society president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff described the failure as “unacceptable” and called on justice minister Helen Grant to delay the implementation of new rules. That call has so far gone unheeded.

But before reaching for your crystal ball or tarot cards, draft rules were published in February and the following summary sets out what are likely to be the key provisions under the new regime:
 
There are two limbs to consider: the extension of the claims portal and the introduction of fixed costs in fast-track cases.
 
The majority of EL, PL and RTA injury claims arising from incidents taking place after 31 July 2013 (where the value of the claim makes it suitable for the fast-track) will be subject to new pre-action protocols. Claims falling into this regime will be subject to fixed costs, depending on the type of claim and the point at which it settles or is disposed of.
 
The new pre-action protocols divide the claims process into three stages:
 
Stage 1: Claim submitted and the Defendant’s liability response (unless the Defendant admits liability the claim will fall out of the protocols)
Stage 2: Exchange of evidence limited to quantum
Stage 3: Court assessment of damages or approval of settlement
 
Awards for costs in cases remaining within the protocol will be limited to the following:
 
Click here to view table.
 
Of those claims that fall out of the protocols, the following fixed costs will apply (these apply to Defendants as well as Claimants, though recovery will of course be limited by Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting):
 
Click here to view table.
 
The RTA and EL/PL protocols will generally apply to claims relating to accidents occurring on or after 31 July 2013. One exception is EL disease claims where the protocol applies to claims submitted on or after 31 July 2013. The fast-track fixed costs provisions will apply to those claims commenced under the protocols.