The battle to reduce the costs of litigation

By Miranda Whiteley

It used to be the case that a party to litigation could decide for themselves how much they wanted to pay their lawyers and how much time they wanted them to put into the case. The only question was how much of this could be recovered from the other side if you were successful.

In the post-Jackson climate, the picture is not so simple. There are signs that the role of judges now involves preventing parties from incurring disproportionate costs and is not limited to controlling the level of costs recovered by the winner from the loser. This will have significant consequences for the way litigation needs to be conducted, even in large commercial cases that are presently exempted from costs budgeting.

This has, in theory, been the case since the introduction of the overriding objective with the advent of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in 1999. CPR 1.1(2) has always said that dealing with a case justly includes, so far as is practicable, ensuring that the parties are on an equal footing and saving expense. The primary importance of cost has been underlined by the amendment to CPR 1.1(1) in April 2013 — the role of the CPR is now to enable the court to deal with cases justly and at proportionate cost…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Mills & Reeve briefing.