REUTERS | Mike Blake

Influencing costs management (before it is too late)

Costs management is just one aspect of Jackson LJ’s extensive civil litigation costs reforms, which are expected to come into effect in 2013. As part of the roll-out of the reforms, Jackson LJ is giving a series of lectures, designed to “explain the reforms and the thinking behind them”. His latest, the thirteenth, focused on the role of IT in the reforms.

The thirteenth lecture

The thirteenth lecture looked at issues such as:

  • Software for e-disclosure.
  • Developing a single software system for costs budgets and bills of costs.
  • Ways to monitor compliance with court orders.
  • The need for an integrated court IT system.

As Jackson LJ explained:

“All of the planned reforms have consequences for the IT systems used by solicitors. Hence the importance of giving as much notice as possible to the profession about what is coming. Some of the reforms generate the need for specific software…”

IT and costs management

In addition, the lecture considered the role of IT in costs management. (Costs management has featured a number of times on this blog in the last year or so, most recently in February 2012 when the interim report into the TCC costs management pilot was published.) The aim is to roll it out to all courts (other than the Commercial Court) during 2013.

Those familiar with the TCC and Mercantile Courts’ costs management pilot will be familiar with precedent HB, which has been developed for it. Jackson LJ said the form that is eventually rolled-out to all court users must be:

“…as user-friendly as possible – both for the solicitors who compile it and for the judges and advocates who use it at case management or costs management hearings.”

Jackson LJ said that the form is now being developed with input from those monitoring the pilots, practitioners with costs expertise and Professor Susskind (on the IT side). He also noted that as many solicitors already use costs budgeting software, this will need to be adapted, so that it can readily be used to complete the new costs management form.

Time to have your say

To date, a number of concerns have been raised about costs management and precedent HB. However, more feedback is required from the pilot if practitioners are going to get what they want. If they remain quiet, they may not find the form is as “user-friendly” as they’d like.

As we’ve said before, now is the time to have your say (before it is too late). You can share your views by completing the court-provided questionnaire and returning it to the monitoring team at nicholas.gould@kcl.ac.uk. Alternatively, you may leave a comment here in the box below.

2 thoughts on “Influencing costs management (before it is too late)

  1. To allow practitioners time to familiarise themselves with the new rules and to prepare for the changes ahead, details about the new costs management regime and proportionality test, due to be introduced in April 2013, were released at a Law Society seminar on 29 May 2012 (see Legal update, A revolution in litigation practice: details of the costs management rules taking effect in April 2013).

    Ramsey J’s speech (annexing the new rules and Precedent H) can be accessed on the Judiciary website.

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