Just Costs Solicitors has found that 65% of personal injury partners at the UK’s top 200 firms believe the costs management process has had a negative impact on litigation. Despite their misgivings however, 90% of personal injury partners say that they prefer costs management to fixed recoverable costs.
The Costs Management Survey 2017 by Just Costs Solicitors also found that 70% of personal injury partners outsource their costs to an external costs company, while 85% have never used the Excel format costs budget found on the justice.gov.uk website.
“Personal injury solicitors are trapped in a marriage of convenience with the costs management process,” said Phil Bradbury, head of costs management at Just Costs Solicitors.
“There’s no love or affection for the process, but it’s better the devil you know and they won’t be filing for divorce any time soon”
Bradbury added that the introduction of costs management had only increased the cost of litigation in some litigators’ eyes. “The need to comply with deadlines, or having to apply for an extension before the deadline expires, is seen as an accumulation to the cost of litigation, especially when the principal claim remains their main focus of litigation,” he said.
He pointed out that the majority of personal injury solicitors feel that there is a lack of consistency in the judicial approach towards costs management. The lack of guidance as to what proportionate costs means, and the fact many judges are still unclear on what basis they are supposed to review the parties’ budgets, only serve to heighten those concerns, he said.