A special meeting in Northamptonshire hosted by the Civil Justice Council will hear proposals for the scrapping of the costs regime set up by Lord Woolf.
The council, the watchdog of the civil justice system, is chaired by Lord Phillips, who is keen for the Lord Chancellor to find a solution to the dual problems of costs and delays in civil justice. The Law Society's remuneration policy adviser Vanessa Shenton said: "Those in favour of scrapping the current costs system say costs are one aspect of the Woolf reforms which have not worked, and that costs are escalating." The alternative to the costs regime - where the loser pays the winner's costs - is contingency fees, where a lawyer receives 30 per cent of damages irrespective of how long they have been on the case. Others suggest that fixed costs should be introduced and the indemnity principle scrapped. The latter states that the loser pays no more to the winner than the amount contractually required to pay the solicitor. They also want proportionality, in which costs reflect the value of the case and issues in dispute.