23rd June 2015
Like it or not – and many solicitors do not – costs management is here to stay – as Jay-Z might have said to Beyonce!”
Why do many solicitors still not like costs management? It’s a generation thing! It means more work (almost certainly for less pay) and the development of new skills. Old dogs/new tricks maybe but attitudes are changing not least as a result of client pressure. Today’s clients are more sophisticated. They want to know what their case is going to cost them just like any other commodity. Also younger solicitors have grown up with the new regime and are untroubled by it.
Why do many Judges dislike costs management? This may well be a popular misconception. Whilst it is the case that initially Judges did not enjoy costs management – these if I might say so were the older brethren – another generation thing perhaps? The newer, more youthful Judges welcome it – at least that is what they say though had they said anything different the likelihood is they would not have been appointed!
Are the views of solicitors paramount? No they are not – access to justice for the ordinary men and women on the street (or bus) is the true acid test.
There is in fact one area where even Lord Jackson admits there are teething problems and that is clinical negligence particularly in London, though intriguingly he says he’s not to blame! Apparently he proposed a pilot scheme of pre-issue claims management which never got off the ground – not because there was no pilot but because there was no additional Judge appointed! Also he says he recommended an extra Judge be elevated to case manage clinical negligence cases but instead of one more, there are two fewer! As a result there is now a huge backlog and 9 month waiting list. The solution to this problem…well obviously don’t costs manage the big ticket cases as these cases manage themselves, proportionality never being a problem!
Though the present system of costs management has its flaws it is almost inevitable that in the not too distant future it will be seen as the norm and the current debate will be regarded as much ado about nothing – with apologies to Shakespeare, Lord Jackson and Mumford & Son!”