The government last week introduced legislation to implement the key proposals made by Lord Justice Jackson for the reform of civil litigation costs and funding, namely:
- removing the restrictions on contingency fees or "damages-based agreements" (DBAs) for civil litigation;
- abolishing the recoverability of conditional fee agreement (CFA) success fees and after the event (ATE) insurance premiums; and
- introducing additional sanctions for defendants who fail to accept a claimant's reasonable Part 36 offer to settle.
The reforms form part of the government's Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill presented to Parliament last week.
Those who have been following progress on the Jackson reforms could however be forgiven for missing this development. The vast majority of press coverage in the run up to the introduction of the Bill has been devoted to the government's planned reforms to legal aid and sentencing, which are of much broader interest but less direct relevance to commercial parties.
For the background to the Jackson proposals, see our e-bulletin of 14 January 2010 summarising Lord Justice Jackson's recommendations affecting major commercial litigation, and our e-bulletin of 30 March 2011 reporting on the government's intention to implement the key proposals following its consultation.