Lord Justice Rupert Jackson has been appointed to conduct a fundamental review into the cost of civil litigation. Promoted to the Court of Appeal in October, Lord Justice Jackson was formerly the judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court. He will be assisted by members of the judiciary, representatives of the legal profession and an economist. The review will commence in January and a report is expected by the end of 2009.
The review is being undertaken as the Master of the Rolls, Sir Anthony Clarke, is concerned at the cost of civil litigation and believes that the time is right for a fundamental and independent review of the whole system. Its objective is to make recommendations "in order to promote access to justice at proportionate cost". Terms of reference have been drawn up and the review will look at a wide range of issues, including costs shifting, costs capping and cost budgeting. The review will also involve a comparison of the costs regimes in England and Wales with those operating in other jurisdictions including the US. It will be for the Ministry of Justice to accept or reject any recommendations.
The review promises to be one of the most important undertaken since Lord Woolf's research and reports on civil litigation in the mid 1990s.
Organisations, professionals and court users have been invited to submit written comments and relevant information by the end of January 2009 on topics including costs capping, conditional fee agreements and hourly rates. Further information is available on the Judiciary website at www.judiciary.gov.uk.