UK to shake up civil litigation rules

April 4, 2011 The UK government is considering changes to civil litigation rules in an attempt to ensure that the administration of justice is quicker and cheaper.

One of the major areas being targeted for reform is the practice of allowing winners in civil actions to recover not only their costs but also a “success fee”, paid to their lawyers, and the cost of insuring against losing. The success fee, introduced by the Labor Government in 1999, was intended to ensure that poorer litigants had access to justice by making their custom more worthwhile for lawyers. But the fee has encouraged frivolous litigants and dramatically increased the cost of dispute resolution.

The proposed reforms would see the success fee taken out as a percentage of any damages awarded, and the premium for insurance against losing would no longer be recoverable. Standard damages awards would be raised by ten per cent.

Read more at www.economist.com.

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