The concept of proportionality is not new to litigation

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On 1 April 2013, there will be a cultural shift in the civil litigation landscape, mostly arising out of recommendations made by Lord Justice Jackson. The reforms herald major changes to how costs are dealt with by the courts. In particular, there will be greater emphasis on proportionality.

The overriding objective (CPR 1.1), which underpins civil litigation, has been amended to say that cases are to be dealt with justly and ‘at proportionate cost’. Including the concept of proportionality within the overriding objective places the principle at the very core of litigation practice.

Whether or not a step is proportionate must be considered in every case and at every stage as the matter progresses. In addition to the overriding objective, a new test of proportionality has been introduced when assessing costs. The intention in doing so is that there will be a greater focus on how litigation costs are managed, which should result in cases being conducted more economically and efficiently…

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