Professor Dominic Regan - Looking Ahead

Several reforms intended for the autumn fell away with the announcement of a general election.

No one should fall into the trap of thinking that they are gone for good. On the contrary, there is an obligation for Government to review the Discount Rate.

The Master of the Rolls is firmly behind amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules which will impose a duty upon Judges giving Directions to push Alternative Dispute Resolution. Indeed, as a direct consequence of the Appeal Court judgment in CHURCHILL last autumn where it was decided that Judges already enjoyed inherent power to order engagement in ADR some courts are already doing just that.

At Frenkel Topping we correctly predicted that fixed costs for low value clinical negligence cases would not be introduced in October. Rules had not been finalised and Lord Justice Birss was rightly concerned to get them right or else. It remains open for the Rules to be introduced in 2025 once perfected.

The PACCAR decision in 2023 blew up litigation funding arrangements in group actions. There is general consensus that this needs to be reversed. Draft legislation which fell because of the election is sure to be resurrected as a matter of urgency.

The simplification of budgeting and guideline hourly rates for counsel are on the reform agenda of the Civil Justice Council.

Finally, we will soon see the first cases emerge on the application and interpretation of the Intermediate Track Rules which were introduced on 1st October last year.

There is never a dull moment in the land of civil litigation.

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