Losing litigants no longer to pay CFA success fees or ATE insurance premiums

The Government today announced proposals to ensure that in the future, if a winning litigant takes out a Conditional Fee Agreement ("CFA") or After the Event ("ATE") insurance, its opponent will no longer have to pay the success fee or the insurance premium. The Government will also press ahead with many other proposals in its recent consultation document "Proposals for reform of civil litigation funding and costs in England and Wales", based on the recommendations in Lord Justice Jackson's Final Report on his Review of Civil Litigation Costs.

These include:

1. allowing damages based agreements (or "contingency fees") in litigation which allows lawyers to take a proportion of a claimant's damages in fees;
2. introducing a 10% increase in general damages, and protection for personal injury claimants from paying a winning defendant's costs;
3. measures to encourage parties to make and accept reasonable offers, for costs payable by one party to another to be more proportionate to the claim, and increasing the amount a litigant in person can claim for his own costs.

The Government also announced a new consultation on changes to county court litigation, which includes the following proposals:

1. raising the small claims limit from £5,000 to £15,000;
2. automatic mediation in small claims cases and automatic referral to mediation awareness sessions in higher-value cases;
3. expanding the use of an online system for making low-value claims;
4. various measures aimed at improving enforcement of court judgments;
5. creating one national county court jurisdiction across England and Wales.

More details can be found on the Ministry of Justice news release: http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/newsrelease290311a.htm
 

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