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Jackson reforms: the nitty-gritty is finally published

Picture of Lord Jackson for your Expert witness storyOn 13 February the Ministry of Justice laid down in Parliament a statutory instrument which sets out the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules – often referred to as the Jackson reforms – spelling out in detail the future direction of civil justice when they come into force on 1 April.

Most of the content is what was expected. Reviewing the new rules, John Hyde wrote in the Law Society Gazette: "There are few surprises in the amended rules, and as expected changes to conditional fee agreements do not apply to insolvency-related proceedings, publication and privacy proceedings or a mesothelioma claim.

"All parties except litigants in person must file and exchange budgets by a specific date and courts can control parties' budgets if a costs management order has been made."

What took some lawyers by surprise was the fact that the document was not accompanied by the associated practice directions.
Francesca Kaye, president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association, told the Gazette: "It's been a complete shambles. There is a limit to how much lawyers can prepare for change without seeing the detailed practice directions. The legal profession is a huge business.

"We now have 29 working days or less to train everyone for major changes upon which the success of major pieces of litigation may turn. I can't think that in the private sector or even the public sector such a significant change would be implemented in 29 days."

Among the many sections are new rules for costs management, costs capping, qualified one-way costs-shifting and damages-based agreements. The document also deals in detail with new rules on the court's power to restrict expert evidence and in particular the issues the expert evidence may address and the cost involved, following the introduction of restrictions on use of experts in the family courts last month.

Pictured: Lord Justice Jackson, architect of the reforms

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:38