It is thought that the new fixed cost pilot scheme is due to be implemented imminently. This is a scheme to be introduced by the courts to cap costs incurred when litigating. What will this mean for people involved in disputes?
It will mean there is a level of certainty about the costs involved in going to court. The costs will be capped at each stage of court proceedings with an overall cap of £80,000. Clearly the top end of the cap will apply to the more complex and higher value cases and the court will have to determined where cases will fall.
The scheme is voluntary and will run for two years. It will therefore be up to the parties as to whether they wish to use the scheme. It certainly is something to think about for those higher value and complex cases, particularly if you are faced with defending one of these cases.
Papers from the Civil Procedure Rule Committee meeting in May, published today, show costs in the pilot would be capped at £10,000 for pre-action work, £7,000 for particulars of claim and £7,000 for defence and counterclaim. Parties can claim up to £6,000 for a reply and defence to the counterclaims, £6,000 for the case management conference, £6,000 for disclosure and £8,000 for witness statements. Expert reports are capped at £10,000, with the trial and judgment costs limited to £20,000. The working group dedicated to the pilot scheme proposes an overall cap of £80,000 Any cases where the trial will go beyond two days, or where the value is more than £250,000, are excluded.