Act fast to avoid litigation rule changes

19 September 2023

People looking to launch a civil litigation claim have been advised to submit papers to the court before a significant rule change next month (October).

From October 1 2023, fixed recoverable costs (FRC) will apply to most civil litigation claims with a value of up to £100,000. 

Fixed recoverable costs are the amount of legal costs a winning party can recover from a losing party at different stages of the litigation, from pre-issue to trial.

Julia Lowe, Dispute Resolution Partner at award-winning law firm Higgs LLP, said recoverable costs for most cases are currently higher than they will be under the new rules.

She said: “This is something which has been coming for a long time. A version of FRC has been in place for Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence for some time and now that is being extended to many more claims. 

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“We are used to dealing with small track, fast track and multi-track cases but from October 1 we will see the creation of a new intermediate track, which is a significant change."

Julia Lowe

Head of Commercial Litigation, Higgs LLP

“When the intermediate track is introduced, there will be four bands of complexity which determine the level of FRC you can recover.

“It’s very complicated and will take some getting used to – but the important thing for now is that everyone is aware that the rules are changing on October 1, and to avoid FRC claims have to have been lodged with the courts for issue before October 1. That way the case will be dealt with under current costs recovery rules rather than the new ones, which is more than likely going to be advantageous.”

Julia said she anticipates friction over how cases are categorised and allocated moving forward.

“Fixed recoverable costs will not apply to multi-track or small claims cases, whereas they will for fast track and intermediate track,” she said. “That will inevitably cause friction with arguments over which track a case should follow, depending on whether you’re the claimant or defendant.”

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