Lord Justice Briggs proposed that there should be ‘a very limited recovery of costs’ to encourage an early assessment of the merits of a case by a qualified lawyer, and possible support during the trial.
Briggs LJ added: ‘That will need more unbundling by lawyers… It could be backed by a CLAF (contingent legal aid fund) for providing financial assistance for lawyers who provide unbundled services rather than the full retainer.’
Meanwhile, Lord Justice Jackson said that he stands by his proposal made in January 2016 for an extension of fixed costs for claims worth up to £250,000. Indeed, research from the Federation of Small Businesses showed that most small businesses wanted fixed costs for claims up to £500,000.
Lord Justice Jackson commented: ‘There is often a gulf between what clients want, and what lawyers want or what lawyers think their clients want’.
The new online court system being devised by Lord Justice Briggs may initially be limited to claims worth £10,000, the judge has conceded today.The news came as Briggs’ Court of Appeal colleague Lord Justice Jackson, speaking at the same event, defended his own reform proposals in relation to fixed fees. Briggs (pictured) said that while the aim was for the online court process to be used for claims up to £25,000, ‘it may have to start at £10,000 to get past its teething troubles’.The judge said his thinking has moved on since he published a preliminary report in January. Reiterating comments made in an article for the Gazette last week, Briggs said his vision for the online court did not mean getting rid of lawyers altogether.