The Jackson Reforms: a sea change in the conduct of civil litigation in the UK

By Bob Deering

The Jackson civil litigation reforms, which came into force in April 2013, represent a sea change in the way litigation is conducted in the UK and affect everyone involved in commercial litigation in England, not just the lawyers. Our article provides an update on how the reforms have affected the litigation of commercial disputes in the English courts in the past 15 months, specifically in relation to case management and controlling costs.

In 2009, Sir Rupert Jackson, a senior Court of Appeal judge, was asked to carry out a review into the costs of civil litigation in England. The resulting changes to civil litigation procedure were brought into the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in April 2013 and have become known as ‘the Jackson Reforms’.

Sir Rupert’s reforms involve a number of key changes. The most relevant to commercial disputes are the expansion of permitted contingency fee arrangements; increases to damages where a defendant fails to beat a claimant’s settlement offer; and the recent introduction in the Commercial Court in April 2014 of ‘costs budgeting’, under which a judge will approve at an early stage in the case a budget in respect of the future costs of the case…

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